British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday he supported Barack Obama's position on Syria after the US president said he would seek a congressional vote for military action in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack.
Cameron's plans for Britain join a potential military strike were thwarted on Thursday night when parliament narrowly voted against a government motion to authorize such action in principle.
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In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he had authorized the use of military force to punish Syria for the weapons attack August 21 that US officials say killed 1,429 people. Military assets to carry out a strike are in place and ready to move on his order, he said
However he backed away from an imminent strike to seek the approval of the US Congress, in a decision that likely delays US action for at least 10 days.
"I understand and support Barack Obama's position on Syria," Cameron said on his official Twitter feed.
Cameron's defeat called into question Britain's traditional role as the United States' most reliable military ally, a role that Cameron has worked hard to cement.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond later said he thought the United States would be disappointed that Britain "will not be involved".
French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed to US President Barack Obama on Saturday his will to punish Syria for a suspected chemicals weapons attack but was under increasing pressure to put the intervention to parliament.
Obama and Hollande spoke by telephone before Obama's statement that he would seek authorization from Congress before any strike.
"The president reaffirmed to him his determination to act to sanction the regime," a source close to Hollande said. "Each country's pace of action must above all be respected."
Earlier on Saturday, hundreds of anti-war protesters rallied in London's Trafalgar Square to proclaim "victory" after Thursday's parliamentary vote and demand no military intervention from other states.
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