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Hollande 'in schoolboy jibe at Britain's Cameron'
Cameron committed a schoolboy error said Hollande, reportedly. Photo: Pascal Segrette/AFP

Hollande 'in schoolboy jibe at Britain's Cameron'

Published: 12 Sep 2013 13:09 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Sep 2013 13:09 GMT+02:00

The atmosphere might be understandably tense the next time the French President Francois Hollande and UK Prime Minister David Cameron are together in the same room. According to one report Hollande said the UK leader had committed a "schoolboy error" over Syria.

François Hollande and David Cameron have already had a few run-ins in the relatively short time the pair have shared as leaders of their respective countries. There was the row over Cameron offering to roll out the red carpet to French businesses and also the spat over the EU budget as well as the banter of the success of British Olympic cycling team atthe expense of the French.

And now the leak of an off-the-record chat between the French president and journalists looks like further entrenching the pair’s frosty relationship.

According to a report in French investigative and satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné the French leader said Cameron had committed a “schoolboy error” by allowing the UK parliament to vote against taking action in Syria.

According to Le Canard, Hollande said of Cameron: “He committed a schoolboy error. He overestimated his strength and didn’t find a way of convincing his parliamentary majority as he lost by just five votes, with 30 abstentions and 30 votes against, with a dozen Conservatives failing to take part.

“Cameron comes out of this affair weakened and it is not good for Great Britain,” Hollande reportedly went on to say.

The President of the United States Barack Obama has come under fire at home and abroad by signalling his intention to ask Congress to vote on the issue.

However the French president appears to be slightly more understanding of his position, reportedly saying he “understands Obama’s U-turn.”

In the aftermath of the chemical weapons attack in Syria, Hollande stated France were ‘ready to punish’ the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

After committing to military intervention Hollande envisaged a three country alliance along with the US and Britain.

However that idea was dashed when the UK parliament voted against action and Hollande looked increasingly isolated once Obama had committed to vote in Congress.

The Socialist president came in for criticism from the right wing in France, who suggested former President Nicolas Sarkozy would have had no trouble forming an international alliance.

In an interview with The Local last week, The British Ambassador Sir Peter Ricketts said the French understood Britain’s position over Syria” in light of the parliamentary no vote.

However if Hollande’s off-the-record briefing to journalists is to be believed Paris and the president is still a tadupset about being left alone. 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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