Nightly News   |  September 07, 2013

Kerry tries to rally support in Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry made the case to France and the European Union to join the U.S. in military action against Syria. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> state john kerry continues his travels overseas tonight, where he is making the president's case. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell is in paris this evening. andrea, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, mary. the president is trying to drum up support for military action from european leaders, so far with mixed results. secretary kerry came to paris hoping to change public opinion both at home and in france . [ speaking french ] france is the one european ally willing to fight with the u.s., but even france wants to wait until u.n. inspectors report on the chemical attack . and while 28 other european nations meeting with kerry earlier in lithuania said today assad must be punished --

>> in the face of this cynical use of chemical weapons , the international community cannot remain idle.

>> reporter: -- the european union also wants to wait for the u.n. report. public opinion in france is against military strikes. just as in the u.s.

>> we don't have to go over there because that's not our business.

>> i don't know if responses is really concerning us.

>> people at home are telling their congress members, we want to worry about our schools, our kids. how can the administration take action in the face of that, without the mandate of the u.n., without the mandate of europeans for military action ?

>> because this concerns every american's security. this is not remote. this is not some far-off place where something happened that's just one arab sect killing another arab sect on some internal fight. so are we supposed to turn away because the u.n. itself has become a tool of ideology or of individual nations and not say that the principle we put in place and have fought for all of these years is going to be thrown away? i don't think so.

>> facts are facts, and that mr. bashar al assad ais responsible for that, no doubt.

>> reporter: in st. peter's square today, the pope held a prayer for peace after writing to vladimir putin about not using mill will tear force. pope francis tweeted today, pray for peace. and tomorrow here in paris secretary kerry will be meeting with arab leaders who are also still divided about using military force . then he's going to cut his trip short to rush back to washington and resume lobbying members of congress.

>> andrea mitchell in paris tonight. thank you. while heads of state, members of congress and the american people debate whether to attack syria, the war there rages on. bill neely was in a hard-hit part of the capital damascus as the g-20 leaders met this