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Harf: I’m Not Going to Do Any Legal Analysis on Whether WH Needs a UN Resolution to Act in Syria

'The U.N. isn't the only international body we are consulting'

• August 28, 2013 4:08 pm

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State Department spokesperson Marie Harf pushed back against suggestions that a U.S. strike in Syria without a U.N. Security Council resolution would be illegitimate Wednesday in the State Department press conference.

The AP's Matthew Lee pressed Harf as to why the Obama administration has apparently given up on the Security Council route to get an authorization for use of force in Syria, noting the Bush administration had a U.N. resolution at the time they invaded Iraq.

Harf said she disagreed with the comparison and the White House is consulting with a broad range of international bodies, not just the U.N.

Lee questioned if that meant the administration sees another legal route to attain approval for an attack.

The State Department spokesperson replied she would "not do any sort of legal analysis at all, period, from this podium today":

LEE: So in the playground of international diplomacy here, you don't get what you want, you're going to take your ball and go home. That's what you're saying?

HARF: Well, actually, I would strongly disagree with that. Look at the dozens and dozens of calls and discussions that Secretary Kerry, the president, Secretary Hagel have had with our counterparts across the world, whether it's NATO, the Arab League, a host of countries in the Middle East, in Europe, elsewhere. Clearly, we are consulting the international community and a broad range of international partners on the best course forward. The U.N. isn't the only international body that we're consulting here. But again, we continue talking to the secretary-general as well.

So it's not like we are not engaging in high-level sustained consultations with our diplomatic partners. In fact, it's actually the opposite.

LEE: OK, so you think that the — that another — there is another avenue to get — to get a legal basis for this.

HARF: Again, I'm not going to do any sort of legal analysis at all, period, from this podium today.