- (Photo: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen)
French president Francois Hollande has declared that France is standing firm in its resolve to back the U.S. in its course of action on Syria despite the British parliament voting on Thursday against any military intervention.
"Each country is sovereign to participate or not in an operation. That is valid for Britain as it is for France," Hollande told French newspaper Le Monde.
While President Barack Obama has not yet announced a decision on Syria, the U.K. parliament voted 285-272 on Thursday night against a military strike, going against Prime Minister David Cameron who had argued that "military intervention to strike specific targets" would be "legally justifiable."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the U.K. vote does not deter the U.S. from following its own plan in the troubled region.
"The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America," Earnest stated.
Over 100,000 people have died in the two year conflict in Syria between rebels and state forces, though Obama warned that the government of President Bashar Al-Assad would cross a "red line" if it used chemical weapons on civilians – something which according to a number of sources became a reality on Aug. 21 when hundreds were reported dead from a massive poison gas attack.
The government has denied that it is responsible for the chemical attack and has blamed rebel forces, but the Obama administration has already concluded the Syrian regime is behind the actions.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said: "Make no mistake, President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people."
Russia and China have both warned, however, that a military strike on Syria might have very serious consequences for the region and could make the situation even worse.
"Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa," argued Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
Hollande noted that the U.N. Security Council cannot act without Russia and China, two permanent members who are in opposition to foreign intervention in Syria, but suggested that a new coalition could form between the Arab League and other European countries.
"But there are few countries which can have the capacity of enforcing any sanction through the appropriate measures," the French president added.
"France will be part of it. France is ready."