White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the British foreign secretary has recognized America’s “right and ability” to make its own foreign policy decisions with regard to the crisis in Syria.
Earnest’s press conference came mere hours before British Parliament voted down the possibility of British military intervention in Syria, for which prime minister David Cameron was advocating. Cameron acknowledged Parliament’s decision and said “the government will act accordingly.”
But even though Britain won’t be joining in potential strikes on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, the British government already granted the United States permission to make its own Syria decisions, according to Earnest.
“And we’ve also seen an acknowledgment from the [UK] foreign secretary about the United States’ right and ability to make our own foreign policy decisions that are in our national security interest,” said Earnest, who went on to read British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s statement granting decision-making independence to the commonwealth’s former American colonies.
“The United States are able to make their own decisions, of course. We will remain closely coordinated with them and in close touch with them, as we are every day,” Hague said in the statement, recited by Earnest.
“So of course they will be able to make their own decisions, but we will continue to be determined that the world should reject the use of chemical weapons and that the United Kingdom has a role to play in that,” Hague said, as recited by Earnest.
“We certainly welcome the role that the United Kingdom has to play,” Earnest added.
Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people during his country’s violent civil war.