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Obama 'respects PM stance on issue'

By Sam Lister

US President Barack Obama has told David Cameron he "fully respected" the approach the Prime Minister has taken over Syria in a telephone call, Downing Street has said.

The PM insisted he still wants to see a strong response to the chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus during the 15-minute discussion following the humiliating Commons defeat that has ended any possibility of British military intervention.

It comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry laid the blame for the atrocity firmly with Bashar Assad and put the death toll at 1,429, including 426 children.

In a passionate speech in Washington, he warned "history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator" as he argued the evidence against the regime was "compelling".

President Obama last night insisted he was undecided about the prospect of US military action but said any action would be "limited".

High profile figures warned yesterday that Britain's international standing has been undermined by last night's vote and Mr Kerry's decision to pointedly refer to France as "our oldest ally" will be viewed as a sign of Washington's irritation at the position.

Downing Street insisted the US special relationship was still intact. A No 10 spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister and President Obama spoke this evening to discuss the response to last week's chemical attack in Syria.

"The PM made clear that he strongly believes in the need for a tough and robust response to the appalling war crime committed by the Assad regime in Ghouta.

"The PM explained that he wanted to build a consensual approach in Britain for our response and that the Government had accepted the clear view of the House against British military action.

"President Obama said he fully respected the PM's approach and that he had not yet taken a decision on the US response."

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