UN Television - AP Clients Only

United Nations - September 24, 2013

1. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, U.S. President:

"We believe that as a starting point, the international community must enforce the ban on chemical weapons. It is an insult to human reason and to the legitimacy of this institution to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack. However, as I have discussed with President Putin for over a year, most recently in St Petersburg, my preference has always been a diplomatic resolution to this issue. The Syrian government took a first step by giving an accounting of its stockpiles. Now there must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the regime is keeping its commitments and there must be consequences if they fail to do so."

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Barack Obama, U.S. President:

"I want to be clear we are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course and given President Rouhani's stated commitment to reach an agreement I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government, in close cooperation with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China. The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested. For while the status quo will only deepen Iran's isolation, Iran's genuine committment to go down a different path will be good for the region and the world."


U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.N. Security council must agree to a resolution on Syrian chemical weapons that includes consequences for the regime of President Bashar Assad if he doesn't meet demands to dismantle his chemical stockpile.

Obama told his U.N. audience Tuesday that failure to include such consequences would mean the international body is unable to enforce such requirements.

Obama said it would be "an insult to human reason and the legitimacy" of the U.N. to suggest that the Assad regime did not carry out a chemical attack on civilians last month.

The President also says he has directed Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue a nuclear weapons agreement with Iran and that he firmly believes "the diplomatic path must be tested."

Obama says he's encouraged that Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is pursuing a more moderate course. But he said Rouhani's "conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable."

The West has long suspected that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon. Tehran has consistently denied the charge.