Obama confers with French President on action against Syria
Washington: US President Barack Obama has called his French counterpart Francois Hollande after taking the decision to take military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
"The President informed Hollande that after careful deliberation he has determined it is in the national security interest of the United States to take limited military action against the Syrian government to confront this atrocity, and informed him that he would call on the Congress to authorise the use of military force in Syria," the White House said in a statement yesterday.
Earlier, Hollande has said that France is still ready to take action in Syria alongside the US, despite UK MPs blocking British involvement.
"Obama thanked Hollande for France's principled commitment to upholding the international norm against the use of chemical weapons and enforcing the consequences that give this norm meaning. France is a valued ally and friend of the United States and we will continue to consult closely on Syria in the coming days," the statement said.
On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry called France America's "oldest ally" as he praised the country for its support of military action in Syria. America's warm words for France represent a significant turnaround from the hostility of a decade ago, when France refused to back the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
The two leaders agreed that the international community must deliver a resolute message to the Assad regime that these crimes are unacceptable and those who violate this international norm will be held accountable by the world, the White House said.
Obama's decision came a day after his administration released its intelligence assessment blaming the Assad regime for using chemical weapons against its own people that killed 1,429, including at least 426 children.
Though he announced his decision to bypass the UN Security Council, which he alleged has been paralysed, Obama said he would seek the US Congress' approval for his administration to take military action against the Assad regime.