French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday formally recognized Syria's new opposition coalition as the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people." France became the first Western democracy to endorse the coalition since Syria's various opposition groups, which have tested the U.S.'s patience with their internecine squabbling, struck a deal on Sunday to put aside their differences in the name of uniting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hollande also said France would consider arming Syria's rebels directly once the coalition, known as the Syrian National Council, forms a government. The U.S. and Britain have yet to give the SNC their blessing, with British Foreign Minister William Hague arguing that the group, many of whose members have lived in exile for years, would first have to prove that it had support within Syria.
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