Obama’s already tiny base of international support contracting still further. “Europe urging US to delay action in Syria,” from PTI, September 7 (thanks to Lookmann):
Vilnius: European foreign ministers meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to urge the United States to hold off any military action in Syria until UN inspectors report on the alleged use of chemical weapons.
Syria was a key topic of Kerry’s discussions today with 16 European foreign ministers attending an informal meeting of the European Union in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. He also was to update them on ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
European officials have been sceptical about whether any military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime can be effective.
Britain’s Parliament has already voted against military action. And French President Francois Hollande displayed sudden caution yesterday, saying he would wait for a UN report before deciding whether to intervene militarily. It was the first time Hollande said he would wait for the UN report.
The UN inspectors’ report is expected later this month, although some European officials are asking the UN to speed up the probe or issue an interim report.
France, which firmly backs the Syrian rebels and has strategic and historic interest in the region, had been ready to act last week but held off when President Barack Obama declared last weekend that he would seek the backing of Congress first.
Hollande’s announcement appeared to catch French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius off guard. Earlier yesterday, he told EU foreign ministers meeting in Vilnius that there was no need to wait for the UN report because it would simply confirm what was already known that the chemical weapons attack had occurred but would not say who was responsible….
Of course, because the UN inspectors don’t even have a mandate to find out who was responsible.