Saudi Arabia stands behind U.S.-led Syria strike

(CBS News) LONDON - Secretary of State John Kerry continued his effort in London Sunday to build international support for U.S. air strikes on Syria, hoping to reel in more Arab support after Saudi Arabia endorsed U.S.-led action.

Kerry dismissed Syrian President Bashar Assad's denials that he used chemical weapons against his own people and said "the evidence speaks for itself." Earlier in Paris, he made the case to Arab leaders.

"He has one of the largest stocks of chemical weapons in the world," Kerry said. "And at the moment, he has no intention of really negotiating. So it is certain that if he's threatened, he will use them again."

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Kerry said that Saudi Arabia is supportive of a U.S-led strike and was convinced Assad was behind the chemical attack -- and he expects other Arab countries to issue statements of support within the next 24 hours.

But few are expected to say they will join in a military strike.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry answers a question during a news conference at the United States Embassy in Paris, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry answers a question during a news conference at the United States Embassy in Paris, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013.
Pool,AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Kerry got a similarly hesitant response from the European Union Saturday, which urged the world to send "a clear and strong response," but asked the US to delay any action until the U.N. weapons inspectors finish their report.

One of the biggest challenges for Kerry has been convincing American allies to back a plan that has still not been approved by Congress.

That is why, Kerry explained, the Obama administration released graphic videos of the chemical weapons attack in an effort to persuade members of the House and Senate who may doubt that the attack in Syria poses a national security threat.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Principally assigned to the State Department, Margaret Brennan also serves as a CBS News general assignment correspondent based in Washington, D.C.

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