PARIS – Mirroring U.S. policy, France will wait for its parliament to consider possible military action against Syria before President Francois Hollande decides whether to launch strikes, his office said Saturday.
Paris hewed a close line to Washington while asserting its independence after President Barack Obama said Saturday he believes the United States should respond with force over a suspected chemical weapons attack by Bashar Assad’s regime but decided to put the issue before the U.S. Congress first.
France, under Hollande’s Socialists, has been the most vocal country to show willingness to join the United States in military action against Syria following an alleged chemical weapons attack.
Before his speech about Syria outside the White House, Obama explained his decision to Hollande in a phone call, said an official in the French president’s office. Hollande noted that he had already decided to convene France’s parliament on Wednesday to take up a debate about Syria.
The two presidents “reaffirmed their joint willingness to act” and have an “absolute and shared conviction” that Assad’s regime was behind the chemical weapons attack, the official said.
Britain’s parliament on Thursday rejected efforts by Prime Minister David Cameron to have British forces possibly take part in military action against Syria.