(CNSNews.com) – As expected, G20 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg found “no consensus” over Syria during a working dinner Thursday, but even setting aside the longstanding opposition from Russia and China the Obama administration’s assertions of a growing “broad coalition” continue to look shaky.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington Secretary of State John Kerry was asking “for countries to speak publicly about their support.”
She named nine countries which she said have “publicly and explicitly expressed support for U.S. military action,” but then confirmed that did not mean they have offered to participate in any strike against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
The nine she named were France, Poland, Romania, Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, Canada and Australia.
There are 193 member-states of the United Nations.
In congressional testimony on Wednesday, Kerry stated, “There are at least 10 countries that have pledged to participate. We have not actually sought more for participation. We have sought people for support and there are many, many more, obviously, that support.”
Psaki said during Thursday’s press briefing she was unable to identify the 10 countries Kerry was referring to, but acknowledged that some were included in her list of nine. (France has publicly said it would participate, while Turkey said it was ready to join “any coalition” against Syria although did not specify this would include a military role.)
Also on Capitol Hill this week, Kerry said that some 53 “countries and organizations” have publicly condemned the August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus and that around 34 countries “have indicated that if the allegations [of regime responsibility] are true, that they would support some form of action against Syria.”
“So there’s a very broad coalition that’s growing of people who believe we ought to take action against Syria,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Asked why so few of the world’s countries, relatively, have condemned the attack, Psaki replied that she could not speak for other countries but that “consultations are, of course, ongoing.”
Asked if the administration was disappointed that it was unable to bring together a coalition the size its predecessor had managed to assemble ahead of the Iraq war, she said, “this is a work in progress.” Keep reading