The US remains "one indispensable nation" in the Middle East, Obama said. When asked about claims of chemical weapons use in Syria, Obama said that officials were gathering information and that what they have seen indicates that this is clearly a big event of grave concern.

Saying US was pushing "to prompt better action" from the UN, and was calling on the Syrian government to allow an investigation at the site of the alleged attack outside Damascus," Obama said that core national interests of US were now involved in Syria's civil war.

He said that the US needed to make sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect its allies and bases in the region".

However, he was cautious on whether to intervene militarily in Syria, saying "if the US goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it".

“The costs of military action have to take those into account as we try to work within an international framework to do everything we can to see Assad ousted", Obama said.

On the subject of whether to cancel military aid to Egypt, Obama reasoned that the aid itself may not reverse what the interim government does.

The president added that the administration was currently doing a full evaluation of the US-Egyptian relationship, and that there was no doubt that US could not return to business as usual, given what has happened.

(Agencies)

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