France broke ranks with its European allies today by officially recognising Syria's new opposition coalition and said it would consider arming the rebels once they created a government in waiting.
Syrian opposition groups struck a deal in Doha on Sunday to form a broad coalition to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad after 20 months of an uprising against his rule.
Arab and EU foreign ministers welcomed the formation of the coalition at a meeting in Cairo today as an important step forward, but stopped short of recognising it.
"I announce today that France recognises the Syrian National Council as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people and as the future government of a democratic Syria making it possible to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad's regime," Mr Hollande told a news conference in Paris.
France recognises Syrian coalition - The Irish Times - Tue, Nov 13, 2012
It was a different president, but the French were also the first to recognise the Libyan opposition. Is this going the same way?