Kerry is set to meet with the foreign ministers of several European Union countries during his visit to Lithuania, which currently presides over the 27-member EU. He will then meet with senior officials in France, which is debating a joint strike with the United States, before going on to Great Britain, whose prime minister backs a U.S. strike but was overruled by Parliament last week.
The White House – and lawmakers – are keen to avoid the impression that the U.S. is defying the international community with its plans to strike Assad's regime in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons. President Obama is trying to get world leaders on his side at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the State Department is aggressively making the case that the U.S. isn't as isolated as it looks.
Psaki said Thursday that nine countries have “publicly and very explicitly expressed support for U.S. military action.” They are: Albania, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Kosovo, Poland, Romania and Turkey.
Lawmakers aren't convinced.
Obama's gamble to get congressional approval still faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House, where 97 members (69 Republicans and 28 Democrats) still say they're likely to vote “no” despite several briefings this week by Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey. Only 31 (22 Democrats and 9 Republicans) say they're likely to vote “yes,” according to the latest count from The Hill.
“If we act in a unilateral way,” Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.) said during Wednesday's briefing, “I have huge concerns.”
Kerry is also expected to discuss a proposed trade deal with the European Union and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during his trip.
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