News / Europe

Despite Veto, UK's Cameron Wants 'Robust Response' on Syria

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to be driven to the Houses of Parliament for a debate and vote on Syria, Aug. 29, 2013.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to be driven to the Houses of Parliament for a debate and vote on Syria, Aug. 29, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
Britain’s leader will still push for a “robust response” in Syria, despite parliament rejecting any military action against the Syrian government. David Cameron said Friday he “regrets” the outcome of the vote.

Cameron was speaking Friday after the British parliament gave its "no" vote late Thursday.

“Parliament I think made a very clear view which it does not want British involvement in military action so we will proceed on that basis,” he said.

Cameron had sought authorization for a military strike to “deter and prevent” the Syrian authorities from using poison gas. The measure was defeated by a vote, 285 -272.

Cameron said Friday it’s still important for Britain to make a “robust response” to the use of chemical weapons - and by using channels such as the United Nations and NATO, Britain would “condemn what’s happened in Syria.”

Where World Powers Stand on Syria
*as of 8/30/13

  • Britain: Parliament rejects participation in military strike
  • Russia: Against Western intervention
  • France: President wants "firm and proportionate action"
  • China: Foreign Minister says political resolution is "only way out"
  • Germany: Military commitment is not being considered
  • Italy: Will not take part in military action without a U.N. mandate
  • Canada: Supports intervention but no plans to commit Canadian forces
  • Iran: Opposed to any Western military strike
Earlier this week, Britain drafted a Security Council resolution that would authorize the use of “all necessary force” in reaction to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons.

But the Council’s five permanent members - Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain - have been in deadlock during meetings this week.

The leader of Britain’s opposition, Ed Miliband, said the British response to the Syrian crisis must be calm and measured.

"I think the problem is that David Cameron was engaging in cavalier and reckless leadership and it was cavalier and reckless leadership that was taking Britain potentially into war without going through the United Nations, without putting the evidence properly before the British parliament,” he said.

The United States and a number of its allies said the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that reportedly killed hundreds of people. The Syrian government denied the allegations.

On Friday French President Francois Hollande said he still supported taking “firm” action in Syria despite the British "no" vote. Hollande does not need parliamentary approval for a military strike, as long as the campaign lasts less than four months.

Germany said it would not take part in military action. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told journalists that participation in a strike was “not being considered."

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Comment Sorting
by: Raphael
August 30, 2013 10:14 PM
It cannot be said that David Cameron is a "toothless bulldog".He is decisive and makes a good case for deterrent action against a dictator who should be indicted along with his military to the Hague.
This at the very least is what Ed Miliband could have put forward to the UK Paliament, instead of "sitting on the fence". In fact he did not even call for it. The UN is the "toothless bulldog" given its inability to deal with regimes involved in gross human right abuses.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 30, 2013 1:24 PM
What is the value of “robust response” in the face of the present threat and violation of weapons use? What value does another “condemn what’s happened in Syria” add to all the warnings that Assad has repeatedly ignored to that effect? Seems the power of ranting and speaking with both ends of the mouth have made some countries, which were once world powers but known for their military and political prowess of the past, to look like dog in the manger. Britain is becoming like a toothless bulldog in its fear to take responsibility in world affairs, especially where it thinks it can goad others into actions it would have taken by itself. All the talking and no action places Britain where it wouldn't want to be. It's time for Britain to once again prove to the world that it still has ability to back its words with action when need arises. For now all it boasts of is past glory.

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