PARIS - The United States said on Sunday it did not rule out returning to the UN Security Council to secure a Syria resolution once UN inspectors complete a report on a chemical weapons attack, but indicated Arab countries were seeking a tough response.
Speaking at a news conference in Paris after meeting key Arab foreign ministers, US Secretary of State John Kerry said they were leaning towards supporting a G20 statement - already signed by 12 countries - that called for a strong international response following an August 21 chemical attack in Syria.
Washington and Paris say forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were behind the attack in which more than 1,400 are estimated to have been killed, and that he should be deterred from using such weapons again.
French President Francois Hollande, increasingly under pressure at home and among European partners to seek a UN mandate before any military intervention in Syria, on Saturday suggested he could seek a resolution at the UN Security Council despite previous Russian and Chinese vetoes.
French officials say a draft resolution presented jointly by Britain and France at the end of August was not even read by Russia and China, let alone discussed.
UN inspectors are likely to hand in their report later this week roughly at the same time as the US Congress votes on whether to allow limited strikes on Syria.