French parliament in Syria debate
on 04/09/2013 09:47:08
As the Obama administration worked to build support ahead of the Congress vote, the US and Israel conducted a joint missile test yesterday in the eastern Mediterranean in an apparent signal of military readiness.
In the operation, a missile was fired from the sea toward the Israeli coast to test the tracking by the country's missile defence system.
The French parliament will debate the Syria issue today, but no vote is scheduled. France's constitution does not require such a vote for military intervention unless its lasts longer than four months, though some French politicians have urged President Francois Hollande to call one anyway.
The US and France accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in an August 21 attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus that killed hundreds of people.
President Barack Obama and Mr Hollande are pushing for a military response to punish Assad for his alleged use of poison gas against civilians - though US officials say any action will be limited in scope, not aimed at helping to remove Assad.
Mr Obama appeared on the verge of launching missile strikes before abruptly announcing on Saturday that he would first seek congressional approval. Congress returns from its summer recess next week.
In Paris yesterday, Mr Hollande said that the US vote "will have consequences on the coalition that we will have to create". He did not specify whether that meant a military coalition.
"A large coalition must therefore be created on the international scale, with the United States - which will soon take its decision - (and) with Europe ... and Arab countries," Mr Hollande said.
If Congress votes no, France "will take up its responsibilities by supporting the democratic opposition (in Syria) in such a way that a response is provided", he added.