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British PM says understands, supports Obama position on Syria

August 31. 2013 3:37PM

LONDON, Aug 31 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Saturday he supported Barack Obama's position on Syria after the U.S 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 authorise such action in principle.

In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he had authorised the use of military force to punish Syria for the weapons attack Aug. 21 that U.S. 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 U.S. Congress, in a decision that likely delays U.S. 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 Defence Secretary Philip Hammond later said he thought the United States would be disappointed that Britain "will not be involved".

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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