Kerry encouraged by French and EU stance on Syria strike

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Kerry encouraged by French and EU stance on Syria strike

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The US Secretary of State John Kerry has welcomed an EU statement on Syria acknowledging strong evidence that the Damascus regime used chemical weapons.

He continued his four-day tour of Europe in Paris as he tried to drum up support for a military strike in response.

His French counterpart Laurent Fabius has joined the US in backing

“We cannot remain indifferent in the face of this massacre,” Kerry said, speaking in French as he referred to last month’s poison gas attack the US says killed more than 1,400 people.

“We cannot let a dictator use with impunity the most appalling weapons that exist. We must bring about – as the minister (Fabius) said – a targeted and limited response, but no less clear and efficient.”

Earlier in Lithuania Kerry was encouraged to hear EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton say the international community could not remain idle over the use of chemical weapons.

But the US is aware of divisions within the EU over how to respond.

EU foreign ministers want no action before UN investigators report back, a stance France has endorsed.

Russia and China continue to oppose intervention without UN backing – and Washington will be hard pushed to win the backing of Congress.