EU foreign ministers met in the capital of Lithuania on Saturday to discuss the bloc’s response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in August.
US Secretary of State John Kerry was also on hand in Vilnius to lend his support and push the agenda for a punitive strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton outlined the EU response:
“In the face of the cynical use of chemical weapons, the international community cannot remain idle. A clear and strong response is crucial, to make clear that such crimes are unacceptable and that there can be no impunity,” she said.
But Kerry faces an uphill battle back home to pursue military action after US President Barack Obama decided to seek the backing of Congress.
Obama called on Capitol Hill to unite and get behind him:
“We can’t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one, even if they happen around the world and that’s why I call the members of Congress from both parties to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in, the kind of world that we want to leave our children and future generations,” he said.
But that stance looks set to widen the rift with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he closed off the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. He remains opposed to military intervention.