Friday, 20 April, 2018

France convinced Trump to stay in Syria, says Macron

Macron says he convinced Trump to stay in Syria Macron Says He Told Putin Russia "Complicit" in "Syrian Chemical Weapons' Use"
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 11:09

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he was ready to talk to all, including Russian Federation and Iran, to pave the way for inclusive political transition in the war-torn Syria.

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.

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term", he told veteran journalists Jean-Jacques Bourdin and Edwy Plenel, charged with the two-hour grilling on BFMTV.

But she added that the U.S. was "determined to completely crush" the Islamic State group and prevent its return.

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

"This (a chemical attack) very easily could happen in the United States if we're not smart, and if we're not conscious of what's happening", she said. During a televised address, Trump said France and the United Kingdom had joined in the strikes.

The French president nevertheless said he wanted to engage in dialogue with all parties involved, including Moscow, in order to find a political solution for Syria.

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

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

Days later, after Syrian president Bashar-al Assad carried out his latest deadly chemical-weapons attack against rebel forces and civilians, Trump was reported to be blustering about punishing Russian Federation and Iran, which would carry great risk of broadening the Syrian Civil War.

Mr Macron said he still wanted dialogue with all parties, including Russian Federation, to try to find a political solution and would go ahead with a planned trip to Moscow next month.

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".

Inspectors from the independent Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are now in Damascus.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said no further strikes were planned, but that this would be reassessed if more chemical attacks took place. It wouldn't be the first time he'd changed his mind on Syria, after all.

The US said 105 missiles were launched and it believed none were intercepted by Syrian defences.

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