The White House is not putting a timeline on a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Syria.


White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Press Secretary Jay Carney says the United States isn't interested in delaying tactics, but putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control, quote, "obviously will take some time." He says a United Nations process to draft a resolution is just underway.

The U.N. action is designed to stop plans for a U.S. military strike in response to chemical weapons use in Syria.

Carney also says Syrian ally Russia has taken more action on the matter in the past two days than during the previous two years. He added that Russia is "putting its prestige on the line" to get Syria to turn over its chemical weapons stockpile.


UN chief hopes US-Russia Syria talks will succeed

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is strongly welcoming U.S.-Russian talks which he hopes will lead to an agreement in the deeply divided U.N. Security Council to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said Wednesday that Ban believes it is "crucially important" for council members to take action to prevent the use of chemical weapons and address the wider problem of solving the 2 ½-year Syrian conflict.

Haq announced that the U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is traveling to Geneva to be available to discuss plans with the U.S. and Russian ministers for a new Geneva peace conference.

"It's not a purely speculative trip," Haq said. "It's certainly possible that he'll have those meetings, but there's nothing that I can officially confirm at this stage."

Future Navy ops like Syria at risk by budget cuts

Protestors rally in support of possible U.S. military action in Syria, on Capitol Hill (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says American ships in the Mediterranean Sea remain ready to strike Syria if ordered, but impending budget cuts will make that kind of operation far more difficult in the coming years.

Mabus says that fewer ships already are going to sea, fewer Navy pilots are flying and fewer Marines are training because of the automatic, across-the-board cuts that would slash more than $50 billion from the 2014 defense budget and $500 billion over 10 years.

If those reductions continue, he said the military options available in future crises like Syria may be "limited or unavailable."

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he ordered the military to maintain its presence to keep pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and to be ready to strike if needed.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)