Sunday, 22 July, 2018


France's Macron says he convinced Trump to stay in Syria long-term

A Syrian man receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces conducted poisonous gas attacks on Duma A Syrian man receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces conducted poisonous gas attacks on Duma Credit Andalou
Bennie Garza | 16 April, 2018, 12:20

President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France's air strikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack were not a declaration of war against the Damascus regime.

The US mission in Syria "has not changed", the White House said Sunday, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants forces to return home as soon as possible.

In telephone calls before Saturday's airstrikes, Macron said he had persuaded Trump not to pull out of Syria.

He said the US, France and Britain targeted "extremely precise sites of chemical weapons use" in an operation that went off "perfectly".

A day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching unprecedented strikes against regime targets, Macron insisted the intervention was legitimate and urged global powers to now push for a diplomatic solution to the brutal seven-year war.

Saturday's strikes on Syria were the first major military operation since Macron's election in May a year ago.

Announcing the strikes in an address to the nation on Friday evening in Washington, Mr Trump insisted: "America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria - under no circumstances". "With those strikes we have separated the Russians and the Turks on this".

The wave of strikes had represented the most significant attack against President Bashar al-Assad's government by Western powers in seven years of Syria's civil war.

Mr Macron insisted the Western allies had "complete global legitimacy to act" in Syria.

Macron, criticised by the far-left and far-right and part of the conservatives over the attacks, said France, Britain and the United States had "complete global legitimacy to act".

Despite soaring tensions with Russia, Macron stressed the need to "talk to everyone" in pursuing a Syrian settlement, saying his plans to visit Moscow in May remain unchanged. There are no changes to his planned trip to Russian Federation next month, he said.

Haley said the joint military strike "put a heavy blow into their chemical weapons program, setting them back years" and reiterated that if Assad uses poison gas again, "the United States is locked and loaded".

He also claimed France was the most active country in the diplomatic arena and at the United Nations, and said his country wanted to include Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

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