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Obama Says World 'Cannot Be Silent' On Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at a news conference in Sweden

U.S. President Barack Obama speaking at a news conference in Sweden

U.S. President Barack Obama has reiterated that the global community "cannot be silent” in the face of what he called the "barbarism" of chemical attacks in Syria.

Obama was speaking in Stockholm on September 4 after talks with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

In an effort to build support for proposed military action against Syria, the U.S. president said the world should stick to its own red line against the use of chemical weapons.

"I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line,” Obama said. “The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in a war.”

Obama said failure to respond to the August 21 chemical attack, which Washington says was carried out by Syria's government, would increase the risk of further attacks.

Hope For Putin

The U.S. president also said he hoped that Russian President Vladimir Putin would change his position on Syria.

"I'm always hopeful, and I will continue to engage [President Putin] because I think that international action will be much more effective and, ultimately, we can end deaths much more rapidly,” Obama said.

In a series of interviews this week, Putin said that Moscow "doesn't exclude" supporting a UN resolution on military strikes against Syria if it is proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people.

Speaking in interviews with the AP news agency and Russian TV's First Channel on the eve of a G20 summit in St. Petersburg, he warned the West against taking what he called "one-sided" action in Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP