President Obama Takes Syria Questions at Sweden Press Conference

U.S. president joins Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in taking questions in Stockholm.
52:51 | 09/04/13

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for President Obama Takes Syria Questions at Sweden Press Conference
This is a special group. Report from ABC news. Hello I'm cabinet -- an ABC news special digital report President Obama is in Sweden this morning this is this week prime minister Frederick Ryan without it will discuss climate changing note out. Internationals a sports for military strike in -- Painting there are many reasons why the relationship between the United States and Sweden it's special. Many sweets immigrated to the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. And somewhere around four million Americans. Today -- Swedish heritage. -- business ties storage between our two countries. Sweden is in fact one of the largest investors. -- capita in the US. And we have considerable -- make investments in Sweden. The United States is the most important foreign employers in our country. How societies are founded on the same core values democracy. Respect for human rights and Google. All of these values -- the hall of the -- so felt about them. And I'm looking forward to the possibility to pay tribute to number of them died this afternoon. A man who chose not to be indifference. And who saved thousand of Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. The United States and Sweden also shared. Ambitions when it comes to the opening OBO -- trade those. Trade has laid the foundation of Sweden's wealth and prosperity. Around 50% of our GDP comes from exports. -- Sweden strongly supports open trade regimes. And in particular free trade agreement. Now being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. This -- not the only bring more jobs and growth to both our continents. It will also strengthen our politicos and economic partnership. -- also touched upon the economic situation in Europe and in the United States. I mentioned that the crisis. Has hit countries in Europe difference -- Sweden being one of those countries that has done relatively well during the crisis. But the need for structural reforms that seats -- -- Europe to stay competitive. And at the same time preserving what our -- our ambitions. We also discussed time and change and its consequences. Pitchers -- -- presents one of the most important challenges to a site to its. Sweden has reduced greenhouse gas emissions. By 20% since 1990. -- GDP at the same time has increased by 60%. So there is no contradiction. Between economic growth. And the protection of environment. I welcome president Obama's ambitious. New climate action. US emissions have in recent years. We're ready fallen substantially. When -- new plan will help the United States to make even further reductions. We have agreed to work together in the international climate negotiations. To make sure that other countries also prepared to cut their emissions. This is the only way. That we can protect our environment. We have discussed few foreign policy issues -- -- and the most topical of course being the situation in Syria. Sweet and condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria. And the strongest possible terms it's a clear violation of international. Those responsible should be held accountable. Sweden believes that serious -- concerning international. Peace and security. Should be handled by the United Nations. But I also understand the potential consequences. Collecting a violation like this go announces. In the wrong tone I know that we both agree that the situation in Syria needs a political solution. So thank you once again Mr. President for coming Sweden and look forward to our program together this -- and friends from -- -- just exhausted my -- Thank you so much prime minister Ryan -- for your very kind words and welcoming me today. I'm proud to be making the first ever bilateral visit by US president -- -- It's only been a short time -- -- want to thank all the people here for the warm hospitality. It's been extended to me and -- my delegation this is truly one of the world's great cities it is spectacularly beautiful. The prime minister tells me that the weather's like this year round. And so like so many of come here I feel sarcoma in my heart I'm sure that -- want to bring back my family to have a visit. Sometime in the future. -- said before that it's no accident that democracies are America's closest partners. And that includes sweet. That's why I'm here today. As free peoples we recognize that democracy is the most effective form. Of government ever devised for delivering progress and opportunity and prosperity. And freedom. Two people. And has two of the most innovative economies on earth we cherish. That freedom that allows us to -- to create. Which is why we're leaders in science and research and development. Those things the pioneer new industries and broaden. Our horizons. We share a belief in. The dignity and equality of every human being. That our daughters deserve the same opportunities are songs that are. Gay and lesbian. My Brothers and sisters must be treated equally under the law. That our societies are strengthened not weakened by diversity. And we stand up for universal human rights. Not only an American in Europe -- beyond because. We believe that when these rights are respected. Nations are more successful and our world is safer and more just. So I want to -- Sweden and the Swedish people for being such strong partners in pursuit of these values that we share. The partnership. Is rooted in deep friendship but as a -- was also mentioned we -- very strong. People the people besides. My hometown of Chicago has. A lot of people from of Swedish descent. Vice President Biden was honored to welcome talking -- -- And quick Soviet the United States earlier this year to mark the 375. Anniversary of the first. Swedish colony in America and I'm looking forward to visiting with the king and queen tomorrow. I should mention on behalf of hockey fans back home in Chicago. I have to say Everett -- championship Blackhawks. That we gladly accept. Fighting chance to visit with the prime minister -- felt. In the White House during my first year in office. And he is always proved to be a thoughtful. And deliberative. Partner on a whole host of international issues and I'm pleased that -- been able to -- That partnership. In our discussions here today. We of course -- -- appalling violence being inflicted on the Syrian people by -- -- regime including horrific chemical weapons attacks two weeks ago. I discussed our assessment which clearly implicates the Syrian government in this outrage. The prime minister and I are in agreement that in the face of such barbarism. The international community cannot be silent and that failing to respond to this attack would only increase the risk of more tax. And that possibility that other countries would use these weapons as well. I respect and -- -- this to the prime minister the UN process obviously the UN investigation team has done heroic work under very difficult circumstances. But. We believe very strongly with high confidence that in fact chemical weapons were used and that mr. -- was the source. And we want to join with the international community. In an effective response that deters such use in the future. So -- update of the prime minister our efforts to secure congressional authorization for taking action. As well as our effort to continue to build international support for holding. -- -- regime accountable and or -- these kinds of attacks in the future and we also discussed our broader strategy. The United States and Sweden are both major donors of humanitarian assistance. To the Syrian people we will continue those efforts. We're gonna continue to try to strengthen the capabilities of an inclusive. And represented of opposition. And to support of the diplomacy that could. Bring an end to all the violence and advance. A political transition and a future. In Syria where. All people's rights are -- those are goals that we share hands we will keep. Working towards those goals -- more broadly given Sweden's close partnership what made -- we also. Touched on some of -- other security challenges and I expressed. My appreciation for the extraordinary work that the Swedish Armed Forces -- has. Done in a whole range of issues including Afghanistan. Efforts to resolve some -- -- conflicts. In central and Eastern Europe. And the ongoing training -- that's also being provided and the good example that's being provided by Swedish Armed Forces here in Europe. Mindful of the jobs that are supported by trade between our two countries we've discussed ways to partner more. Including creating clean energy partnership that creates jobs. And combats climate change effectively. Sweden is obviously an extraordinary -- leader. When it comes to tackling climate change and increasing energy efficiency and developing new technologies. And the goal of achieving a carbon neutral economy is remarkable and sweetness while on its way we deeply respect and admire that and think we can learn from. In the United States we've taken some historic steps double and our. Electricity from wind and solar improving the fuel efficiency of our cars. Reducing our carbon pollution to the lowest levels in nearly twenty years but we all know we need to do more so -- new climate action plan. More clean energy. More energy efficiency less emissions. Will allow us do even more. In the years to come and we look forward to close partnership with Sweden on what is going to be a global challenge. And -- -- royal Institute of Technology today I look forward to seeing some innovative ways that we can cooperate. We also talked about trade and the -- transatlantic trade and investment partnership. Or to -- I want to thank Sweden and the prime minister for the strong support of these negotiations and I believe it. -- the US and the EU to reach a high standard conference of agreement. Could create more jobs and opportunity on both sides of the Atlantic and -- head into BG twenty. I shared my view. That -- in Europe and around the world we've got to stay focused on creating jobs and growth. That's going to be critically important. Not only for. Our economies but also to maintain stability and many of our democracies that are under severe stress at this point. And finally I -- -- Sweden along with all the Nordic Countries -- You're strong support for democracy and development. Strengthening democratic governance and Eastern Europe. Global efforts against aids TB and malaria. Responsible development in Africa. Paula thank in advance the prime minister for hosting our meeting tonight with leaders of all the Nordic Countries and -- report to our discussion so. Two prime mister -- felt thank thank you for so much for your hospitality to the people -- thank you this is. A wonderful. Visit. And I'm looking forward to it producing. Concrete results the war. Enhance the lives of both. The American people and the people of Sweden -- about a simple text. Yes will now open the floor for questions the first question goes to Swedish news agency -- -- -- among aboard -- -- -- welcomed sweet and thank you. As you might know the NSA surveillance affair has stirred up. Quite a few angry -- this -- in Sweden. What you want to say to those upsets and how do you think if there affects their relationship between our countries. And as a follow up to that. I know that in. At home you are sometimes accused of wanting to turn to US into Sweden. But you're here. You've been here for several hours. What have you seen what actually inspires you what do you -- to imports. To the -- list in terms of ideas for our society. Well. -- -- -- agree and it's a question first because this is a question that I've received -- In previous visits to Europe sense. The stories broke. In the guardian and I suspect they'll continue to get as I travel through Europe and around the world for quite some time. Like other countries. We have. And intelligence operation. That tries to improve our understanding of what's happening around the world. And in light of 9/11. A lot of energy was focused on improving our intelligence when it came to. Combating terrorist. And what I can say with confidence is that. When it comes to our domestic. Operations. The concerns that people have back home in the United States of America. That we do not. Surveil. The American people or persons within the United States. That there are a lot of checks and balances in place designed to avoid a surveillance -- There have been times where. The procedures because these are human endeavors. Have. Not work the way they shouldn't and we have to tighten them up and I think there are legitimate questions -- have been raised about the fact that as technology advances. And capabilities broke. It may be that the laws that are currently in place are not sufficient to guard against the dangers. -- being able to track so much. -- when it comes to. Intelligence gathering internationally. Our focus is on. Counterterrorism. Weapons of mass destruction. Cyber security. Appeal for. National security interests of the United States. But what is true is -- -- the United States has enormous capabilities when it comes to intelligence. -- one way to think about it is in the same way that our military capabilities are significantly greater than many other countries. The same -- -- intelligence capabilities so even though we may have the same goals. Are means are significantly greater. And I can give assurances to the publics in Europe and around the world that we're not going around snooping at people's emails or listening to their phone calls. More -- try to do is to target very specifically. Areas. Of concern. Having said that. What -- said. Domestically -- what -- -- international audiences. Is. We have changes in technology. Where's the growth of our capabilities. If our if our attitude is because we can do it we should go into it then we may not. Be. You know addressing some of the legitimate concerns and dangers that exist. Any time we're talking about intelligence gathering and surveillance. So. What I've asked. -- -- national security team to do as well as. Independent. Persons who are. Well known lawyers -- civil libertarians or privacy experts should do is to review everything that we're -- We've. The instructions to them that. We -- balance. The ends with the means. And just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do. And there may be situations in which were gathering information. Just -- because we can that doesn't. Help us what our national security. But. Does. Raise questions in terms of whether we're tipping. Over into. Being too intrusive -- respect her. The the interactions of other governments. And that is something that we are currently reviewing carefully. We are consulting with the EU. In this process. We are consulting with other countries in this process. And finding out from them -- -- there -- areas of specific concern. And trying to -- What we do. In a way that I think alleviate some of the public concerns that people may have. But this is always going to be of some. There's going to be some balancing -- takes place on these issues. Some of some of the folks who've been most greatly offended. Publicly. We know privately engage in the same activities directed at us. Or use information that we've obtained. To protect their people. And we recognize that but I think all of us have to take a very thoughtful approach to this problem and and and I'm the first one acknowledged that given advances technology in the fact that so much of our information -- today is. Through the Internet. Through wireless. That the risks of abuse are greater. Then they have been in the past. -- with respect Sweden. There I've Manchester wander around -- Stockholm as much as I would like. It it is a gorgeous country. From what I know about Sweden I think. Offers us some some good lessons number one. The work you've done on energy -- -- something that the United States can and will learn from. Because every country in the world right now. Has to recognize that if we're gonna continue to grow improve our standard of living. While. Maintaining a sustainable planet -- to change -- patterns of energy use and -- -- -- as far ahead of many other countries. Sweden also. Has been able to have a a robust. Market economy. While recognizing that there are some investments in education or infrastructure. -- research. That are important. And there's no contradiction between making public investments and being a firm believer in free markets. And that's a debate of discussion that. We often have in the United States. It's not to say that -- -- -- Here in Europe. I've probably. Be considered its. Right in the middle maybe center -- left maybe some or right depending on the country. In the United States sometimes there. The names and -- are quite different. And and and I think. Cool a third observation and final observation I'd make is there's no I know a bit. I'm sure -- doesn't feel this. It -- as he's engaging in difficult debates here. Newton. I -- you get a sense that. The politics in Sweden right now. Involved. Both the ruling party and the opposition. Engaged in a respectful and rational debate. That's based on facts and issues and you I think back kind of recognition that people can have political differences but. Were all. Trying to achieve the same goals. So that's that's something that -- sweet should be proud and should try to maintain. The first question from the American press goes to Steve Holland of Reuters. Thank you Mr. President thank user. Have you made up your -- and whether to take action against Syria. Whether or not you have a congressional resolution. Approved. Is a strike needed in order -- preserve your credibility for when you set disorder red lines and where you a woman's list of support of the prime minister here for. Support and Syria. -- impact the question. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The world -- a red line. The world -- a red line when. Governments representing 98% of the world's population said. The use of chemical weapons are boards. And -- -- -- Forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress. Set a red line. When an indicator -- In a piece of legislation titled -- Syria accountability act that. Some horrendous things that are happening on the ground there. Need to be answered for. And so. When I said. In a press conference that Mike calculus about what's happening in Syria. Would be. Altered. By the use of chemical weapons. Which. -- -- woman. Consensus of humanity says it is wrong. That -- -- that is kind of made up. And pluck it out of thin air. There's a reason for. That's point number one point number two. My credibility is not on the line. The international -- his credibility is on the line. And America and congress is credible is on the line. Because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important. And when those videos first broke and you saw images of over 400. Children. Subjected to gas. Everybody expressed outrage. How can this happen. In this modern world. Well. It happened because. A government chose. To deploy these deadly weapons. On civilian populations. And so the question is. How credible is the international community when it says this is an international norm that has to be observed. The question is how credible is congress when it passes a -- saying we after. Forbid the use of chemical weapons. And I do think -- we have to act. Because if we don't. We are effectively saying that. Even though we -- condemn -- and issue resolutions and so forth and so on. Somebody who is not shamed by resolutions. Can continue to act would have given. And those international norms begin to erode. And other -- that's. And authoritarian regimes can start looking and saying. That's something we can get away with. And that -- calls into question other international mormons. And laws of war. And whether those are going to be enforced. So. As I told prime minister. I'm very respectful. Of the UN investigators. Who went and had great danger. To try to gather evidence. About what happened. We want more information not less. But. What I said that I have high confidence. That chemical weapons were used. And that the -- government through their chain of command. -- -- -- That was based on. Both public -- Intercepts. Evidence that we feel very confident about including. Samples that have been tested showing -- from individuals who were there. And I'm very mindful of the fact that around the world and -- in Europe in particular. There are still. Memories Iraq and weapons of mass destruction accusations and people being concerned about how accurate this information is. And keep in -- I'm somebody who opposed the war in Iraq. And I'm not interest in repeating. Mistakes of us. Basing decisions on. Faulty intelligence but. Having. Done a thorough -- -- valuation information that is currently available. I can say -- -- confidence chemical weapons were used and by the way Iran doesn't deny. -- -- doesn't actually denied that there were used and that is what. The UN investigators are supposed to be determined. And frankly nobody is really disputing the chemical weapons were used. The only. Remaining dispute is who use them. Which is outside. The parameters of the UN investigation so UN investigation will not be able to answer that preliminarily there not Spoelstra. But what we know -- is is that. The opposition doesn't have to -- -- To deliver weapons on this scale. These weapons are in -- -- possession. We have intercepts indicating. People in the chain of command -- before and after the attacks. -- knowledge of these attacks. We couldn't show that. The rockets the delivered his chemical weapons went from areas controlled by Assad into these areas where the opposition. Was lodged. And the accumulation of evidence. Gives us high confidence that aside carried this out. And so the question is it after we've gone through all this. Are we gonna try to find a reason not to act. And if that's the case then -- -- the world community should have but. Because you can always find a reason not to act it is a complicated difficult situation. And an initial response. Will not solve the underlying tragedy of the civil war. And Syria as -- mentioned that will be solved through eventually -- political transition. But we can send a very clear strong message against the prohibition. Or or in favor of the prohibition against using our chemical weapons. We can change -- -- calculus about using them again we can degrade his capabilities. So that he does not use them again. And so what I'm talking about as an action that is limited. And time and in scope. Targeted at the specific. Tasker degrading his capabilities. And deterring the use of those weapons again and in the meantime we will continue to engage. The entire -- -- international community in trying to find a solution. To the underlying problems which brings me last question. And that is. What happens if congress doesn't approve of I believe the congress will provide. I believe congress shall -- -- because. I think America recognizes. That. As difficult as it is. To take any military action even one as limited as we're talking about even one without boots on the ground. That's this sober decision. But I think America also recognizes that. If the international community. Fails to maintain certain norms standards laws. Governing Howell countries interact and how people are treated. That over time. -- world becomes less. He becomes more dangerous not only for those people who were subjected trees or more crimes. But all of humanity and we've seen that happen book again and again in our history. And the people -- -- of Europe are certainly familiar with what happens when. The international community finds excuses not to act. And I would not have taken this before congress. Just as a symbolic gesture. I think it's very important that congress say it. That we mean what we say and I think we will be stronger. As a country. In our response. If the president and congress does it together as commander in chief. I always preserve the right. And the responsibility. To act on -- half of America's national security. I do not believe that I was required to take this to congress. But I do not take this to congress just because meant to exercise -- it's important to have congress' support on. And the next Swedish question goes to Swedish national television and it -- -- Mr. President you've given very eloquent talks about moral force of nonviolence. I was funding could you describe -- died that month to be a Nobel peace price winner and getting ready to attack Syria. And also. In what Twain did the talk to to have today with prime minister Brian felt moved the world a step closer to we're solving the climate crisis. I would refer you to the speech that I gave. More and I received the Nobel Prize. And they are star the speech by saying that compared to previous recipients. I was certainly unworthy. But what I also described. Was. The challenge that all of us face. When we believe in peace. But we confront. A worlds that. His full of violence and occasionally -- And the question then becomes what our responsibilities. So. I've made every effort to. And the war in Iraq to wind down the war in Afghanistan. To strengthen. Our commitment to multi lateral action. To promote. Diplomacy. Has the solution to problems. The question though that all of -- -- not just me. Our citizens face not just political leaders. Is at what point do we say. We need to confront. Actions that. Are. Violating. Our common humanity. And I would argue that. When I see 400. Children. Subjected to gas. Over 14100. Innocent civilians. Dying senselessly. In an environment in which your you have. Tens of thousands. Dying. And we have the opportunity to take some action. That is meaningful. -- -- doesn't solve the entire problem may. At least mitigate this particular problem. Men. The moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing. But. It's difficult. This is the part of my job that. I find. Most challenging every single day I would much rather spend my time talking about how to make sure every three and four year old. Gets a good education. That I would spending time thinking about how can I prevent three and four year -- from being subjected to chemical weapons -- nerve -- Unfortunately that's. Sometimes. The decisions that I'm confront -- this present -- United States and frankly as present United States I can't avoid those questions. Because. -- -- As much as we are criticized. When bad stuff happens around the world the first question is what is the United States and under about it. -- strong every. Every issue. It's true in Libya it's true or one it's true in. -- -- It's not true in -- That's part of the deal. Was certain -- What do I think we have great opportunities I think it was good chance for Frederick took to talk about. Harsher abusive because we have. I think a joint belief that. Developed countries -- made progress but we have to have an international framework. To address where the increases in emissions are -- -- OK well took you agree to that I think it's been a very interest in developing development off to Copenhagen. None too view of those present think opening and that. We was saying that US had the highest emissions and two of them to China I was catching up. Now only a few years -- -- we have a situation with China is now double. The emissions of the ones we have in US. This is sexually reshaping the situation when it comes comes protection. We are both responsible for lowering our emissions and we are doing so. But what we we must also face the fact that we race and have a situation -- 25% of the global emissions is from European Union and United States together. So the vote -- say sold it pointing at a quarter. They need to take in the 75 -- outside the European Union and United States that is a problem if you want to deal with this. But it has to be -- juveniles. Final question goes to Margaret -- of the Bloomberg News. -- I'm Mr. President tomorrow you'll see. President -- at the G-20. With Russia and US relations seriously strained. Do you see value in trying to persuade him still to drop opposition to Syrian strike. Or are you are your efforts now aimed at excluding Russia from the decision and looking back at your hopes for -- reset. Do you believe that you overestimated what you could change or do you believe that mr. couldn't change the rules midway to fuel and -- -- I have one more. But it's all related. US that's the question -- remain unanswered about north. -- -- take us behind the scenes on that 45 minute walk around the South -- where you changed your mind. And decided to take this before congress and mr. Prentice Hall Christmas martyr -- -- pressing things now. So this question number four -- for the -- You have expressed some doubts about the military action Syria and I'm wondering if you could be a little bit more specific about what -- concern the consequences may be and whether you believe that. President Clinton. Has any -- -- Spanish shares any burden of the responsibility for mr. side's actions thank you. Okay numbness and -- remember all of us. First of all. The be reset in Russian relationship. Was not. Done on a -- There were specific. US interests. That. I believed we could pursue with a Russia where interests overlaps. That would help us both on our long term national security and our economy. And we succeed. We succeeded in passing. A new start treaty that reduced. Nuclear stockpiles for both the United States. And Russian. Russia joined the WTO. Which bound them to a set of international rules governing trade. Which I think ultimately will be good for the Russian economy. But is also good -- -- trading partners and potential companies that are investing in -- in Russia and that includes US companies. Don't we worked together on counterterrorism issues. They have provided us significant assistance in supplying our our troops in Afghanistan. There were a whole host of outcomes from that -- that -- valuable the United States. Now there's no doubt that. As I indicated. A while back we've got to hit a wall in terms of additional progress. But. I have not written off the idea that -- -- as a rusher gonna continue to have. Common interest even as we have some very profound differences. On some other issues. And where our interests overlap. We should pursue common action. Where we've got differences we should be candid about them. Try to manage those differences but not -- -- One area where we've got a significant difference right now situation in -- Russia has the longstanding relationship -- -- Assad -- And as a consequence. It has been very difficult to get Russia working through the Security Council. To. -- knowledge. That some of the terrible behavior of the aside -- And to try to. Push. Towards the kind of political. Transition that's needed in order to stabilize. Certain. And I've said to mr. -- directly and I continue to believe. That even if you have. Great concerns about. Elements in the opposition. And we've got some concerns about certain elements the opposition like -- -- And even if you're concerned about. The territorial integrity of Syria and were concerned about the territorial interiors. If you in fact want to end the violence. And slaughter inside of Syria. We're gonna have to have a political transition because it is not possible for mr. Assad to re gain legitimacy. In a country where he's killed tens of thousands of his own people. That will not happen. So far at least mr. -- -- -- about logic. As far security action Security Council action that we have gone repeatedly to security. Council for even the most modest of resolutions condemning some other actions that have taken place there. And it has been resisted. By Russia. And you know do I hold out hope that. -- -- may change his position. On some of these issues. I'm always hopeful. -- -- gauge -- because I think that. International action would be much more effective. And ultimately we can and deaths much more rapidly. If Russia. Takes a different approach. To these problems. In terms of my decision that to take this year congress. Business had been borrowing in my mind for a while. Some people would noted that I think this is true that had -- been in the senate. In the midst of this period. -- prior would've. Suggested to a democratic or -- -- president the congress should have. The ability to weigh in on an issue like this that is not. Immediate. Imminent. Time sensitive. And when. The chairman of the joint chiefs mr. Dempsey. Indicated to me that. Whether we struck. Today tomorrow -- a month from now. We could still do so effectively. Then I think that raised the question of why not. Ask congress to debate this in a serious way. Because I do think it it raises issues that are gonna occur for us and for the international community for many years to come. But the truth of the matter is is that under international law. Security Council resolution. For self defense or defense of an -- provides a clear basis for action. But increasingly we're we're going to be confront where there are situations like Syria. Like Kosovo and like -- Wanda. In which. We may not always have. -- Security Council that. Can act it may be paralyzed for a whole host of reasons. And yet we -- got all these international norms. There were interest and -- We may not be directly. Imminently threatened by what's taking place. In -- possible or Syria or Wanda in the short term but our long term national security. We'll be impacted -- a profound way and are humanity's impact in the profound way. And so. I think it's important for us to. Get out of the habit. In those circumstances again I'm not arguments or concerns were. Our. National securities directly impacted we've been attacked senator were present has to act quickly -- in in circumstances of the type that I described. It's important for us together having just saying. Well -- let the president -- It's stretch the boundaries of this authority is -- as far as as he can congress shall sit on the sidelines. Snipe. Never works. The -- -- -- less. Than a dozen a little more but either way. The American people and their representatives are not fully invested. In order tough choices and we as a country and the world are gonna start have to -- Take tough choices. I do get frustrated. Although I'm under you know I understand how complex this -- -- -- time -- involving military action -- people will last well this may do more harm than good I understand. Those arguments -- Russell -- them every day. But I I -- have to ask people well. If in -- -- -- by the slaughter of innocent people. What are you doing about. And -- the answer as well we should engage diplomatically. And what we've engaged diplomatically. -- answer -- well we should. Shine the spotlight and and shame these governments all these governments oftentimes shall notion. Well we should act internationally well sometimes. Because of the various alignments it's hard act through -- Security Council resolution. So. Either we resign ourselves to saying she was on -- -- -- about it and we'll just. Shake our heads and go about our business. -- We make decisions -- wondered -- and I think. There's an example of where we -- Terry. -- is just be another difficult -- coming. It's important for congress -- their moments -- -- I think I think Kim. I think I think I think I should also the question. I think -- you're right in saying that this very difficult decision to take. And as always it's a balancing act and we've been discussing this during our talks. Just to remind you and unsweetened. A small country with the -- believe in the United Nations. Fuels and country way I think yesterday -- today before we took the decision that all the people that not coming from -- war in Syria. Our love to stay permanently in Sweden. So -- of the people following this press conference here in Sweden or actually just now coming from Syria. And of course wondering what is the view of their country they have enough of the country -- also in this country so we have a lot of groups and links to Syria. I think the main problem has been put to an all right TS. That we have a war without a clear political solution. And that at the end of the day must be you must get a cease fire in the must -- peace process. The markets if people to talk to each other. And I -- understanding the complexity traditional song your position because we have part of -- position also -- in Sweden. It's -- conducted of different groups. They want to get us out out of the picture about what do they want instead. That is of course the question we need to attend to. The weapons inspector that was present in Damascus is headed by a sweet. So in this country of course we are asking. For the time to be able to see -- president found -- Especially since President Obama sent the decision also -- congress. We think that that gives us some more time we -- -- that. Having said that I also said I understand the salute to problem all. Not having -- reaction to use of chemical weapons and what kind of signal that -- to the vote. In a time Libya developing on view on the international not saying that you're allowed to do whatever you would like to your -- People known as long as a sits inside your own borders -- We have. They have these we need to protect people need to look at the interest of each and every one. So this -- -- -- development we have seen that same discussion we're having in Sweden. So I -- I understand especially. He was president. Needs to react otherwise he will get to know the kind of discussion but this -- country. Will always say that's. Put -- into the United Nations that just push -- some more to get to that situation. Of course President Putin -- responsibility and that of course. Because everyone understands and Russian also China. Has been outside of decision making that move would have needed a long time ago to put more clear pressure for more political solution. So that is that is what we have been discussing today if -- -- -- -- these sentences. That shows how difficult this -- Okay regularly much that includes -- press conference. Thank -- for attending. You've been watching President Obama in a joint news conference with Swedish prime minister Frederick Ryan felt -- about a number of issues including the potential military strike in. Syria. And Sweden's potential support such a strike the president there in Sweden for one day before heading. To Saint Petersburg for the G-20 summit anti Hernandez in New York you've been watching ABC news digital special report thanks for watching. This has been a special group. Report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":20152807,"title":"President Obama Takes Syria Questions at Sweden Press Conference","duration":"52:51","description":"U.S. president joins Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in taking questions in Stockholm.","url":"/Politics/video/president-obama-press-conference-sweden-2013-syria-tops-20152807","section":"Politics","mediaType":"default"}