France: Action on Syria would 'balance' situation

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In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrians pray during the funeral of a man killed from a shell in Arbeen town, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/United media office of Arbeen)

PARIS (AP) — The French government says punitive action against Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons would "balance" a situation that has seen gains for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the French government spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the international community has an obligation after the Aug. 21 attack that the U.S. says killed 1,429 people. France, like the U.S., blames Assad.

She told BFM-TV that military action could "re-balance" Syria's civil war.

"If you want a political solution you have to move the situation," France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told France Info radio.

French lawmakers will debate Wednesday the response to alleged chemical attacks. Unlike President Barack Obama, the French president doesn't need a vote and he has a solid majority.