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US President Barack Obama used his last hours in Europe on Friday to push for foreign support to shore up his planned military strike on Syria.
But three days after he left Washington the global coalition the President had been seeking was no closer to becoming a reality and if anything was further away than ever.
The G20 meeting primarily discussed economic issues, but little of consequence was decided on the issue and Syria was always the elephant in the room.
G20 leaders served up Syria as dinner conversation on Thursday night at the suggestion of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Syria dominated the nearly three-hour meal, with leaders queueing up to condemn the use of chemical weapons but reaching no consensus about a response.
World leaders expressed doubt about whether Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime was behind the attack and many were dismissive of shaky evidence presented by the US.
Russia has been direct and scathing about the idea of an illegal attack and President Putin seemed confident when he addressed the press following the G20 talks.
China has given a firm No, while the European Union has voiced scepticism over the potential effectiveness of military action.
The United Nations has said nothing must happen without a security council decision.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, was against intervention, as was India.
Even Pope Francis wasn’t happy, urging G20 leaders to abandon what he called a “futile mission.”
Mr Obama’s team is apparently undeterred.
US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power ripped into Moscow saying it had been holding the security council “hostage and shirks its international responsibilities.”
Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov retorted that a US strike would “drive another nail into the coffin of international law.”
Russia also warned that it was boosting its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea, moving in warships “primarily” for a possible evacuation from Syria.
The route being marched by the US President is now clear.
Unable to win United Nations security council backing for military action, Mr Obama is ignoring it.
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