Following news of an agreement between the U.S. and Russia to address the fate of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles, Sen. Bob Corker continued to express skepticism over the prospects of the deal.
Corker, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, worked closely with Barack Obama's administration to draft an authorization for use of military force in Syria after the alleged use of chemical weapons last month by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The senator and former Chattanooga mayor said that although he would remain "supportive of a strong diplomatic solution," Syria's ability to comply with the deal remained "very much an open question."
"Absent the threat of force, it's unclear to me how Syrian compliance will be possible under the terms of the agreement," Corker said in a news release. "I'm still reviewing the details and believe Syria's willingness to follow through is very much an open question, but I remain supportive of a strong diplomatic solution to Syria's use of chemical weapons."
According to a Reuters report, the agreement, brokered over three days of talks by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, would require Assad to account for the entirety of his chemical weapons stockpile and allow international inspectors to eliminate all of Syria's chemical weapons by the first half of next year.
Earlier in the week, Corker lashed out against Obama's handling of the U.S. response to Syria, saying it had undermined U.S. credibility. The senator added in his remarks Saturday that he hoped an agreement would reinforce U.S. commitments to the region, including support of "moderate opposition forces" in Syria and "resolve" to counter potential threats to allies from other countries in the region, specifically Iran.
"The administration's handling of this crisis has hurt U.S. credibility, so it's vital that going forward, the president articulate how his actions protect our national interests in Syria and the region," he said.
Corker will appear as a guest on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.
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