WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama called his French counterpart Francois Hollande on Saturday before announcing his decision to ask Congress to back military action against Syria, a senior White House official said.
After British lawmakers voted on Thursday to reject their government’s plan to join the US-led action, France is the only only Western power likely to take part in future strikes.
But the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the delay caused by the decision to consult Congress would give the White House time to win more international support.
He said that Obama would push the issue on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Russia next week, which will be attended by the leaders of the world top economic powers.
Officials at Hollande’s office in Paris also confirmed the call, adding that both leaders had stressed they remain “determined to act” despite Obama’s decision to consult Congress.
Obama said he had decided a chemical attack on a Syrian suburb that killed more than 1,400 people was so heinous that he would respond with a limited US military strike.
But he also said he believed it was important to secure support from Congress to wage war.