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Dem Senator: I Welcome Russia Working With Syria To Destroy Chemical Weapons

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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., heads for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in the U.S. Capitol building on May 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., heads for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in the U.S. Capitol building on May 14, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — After hearing reports that Russia has offered to work with Syria to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says she welcomes the possibility of such international cooperation to avoid a U.S. military strike.

“I believe we should pursue every possible diplomatic solution prior to engaging in military action,” Shaheen said in a statement Monday.

Shaheen made her comments as President Barack Obama planned to address the American people on Tuesday night. He has signaled in recent interviews that new diplomacy involving Russia and others could eliminate the risks of a repeat chemical attack without requiring an American intervention.

Shaheen said in her statement the eventual elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles is in the best interest of the United States and the world community.

“After two years of diplomatic stalemate, the credible threat of force has finally pushed Syria and Russia to the negotiating table. However, this cannot be a delaying tactic,” Shaheen said. “We must see immediate, serious and credible actions by Russia and Syria toward the transfer and eventual destruction of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction as soon as possible. We should continue to maintain pressure on the Syrian regime to give up its weapons stockpile.”

Last week, Shaheen was part of a majority in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that voted for a resolution authorizing limited U.S. military force against Syria.

She had said the resolution she voted for is limited in time and scope and does not authorize American troops on the ground. She said it permits an appropriate response to Assad’s international weapons violations “that will rightfully signal to his and other regimes, like those in Iran and Korea,” that the United State won’t tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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