Saturday, 20 October, 2018

France convinced USA to 'stay in Syria': Macron

High stakes for Macron as France weighs up Syria strikes France convinced USA to 'stay in Syria': Macron
Patty Aguilar | 16 April, 2018, 22:56

Last Sunday evening, Macron sat with a small group of advisors at the Elysee palace to watch numerous graphic images and videos of suffering children following an attack the previous day on Douma, which France and allies say was a chemical attack.

On Thursday, sitting in a primary school in Normandy where he was giving his first TV interview in months, Macron said France now had proof the Syrian government had been involved.

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term", he told his interviewers.

The French leader accused Russian Federation of "systematically building" the worldwide community's inability to implement 2013 deal on Syria's chemical weapons and said Moscow is an "accomplice" of Syrian regime.

Political opponents had criticized Macron for drawing a red line over chemical attacks after the unfortunate precedent set by former U.S. President Barack Obama, who had put himself in a tough spot with a similar ultimatum in 2012.

Macron said limiting the strikes to these specific targets was not necessarily Trump's initial plan.

"Our allies had evidence that chemical weapons had been used, and we had proof that these weapons could be attributed to the Syrian regime, which led us to conduct this intervention", Macron added.

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Deploying the armed forces is a prerogative power, meaning the prime minister can launch action without backing from MPs. Both Syria and Russian Federation have denied all responsibility for the alleged chemical attacks.

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Macron said that failing so far to get the red lines respected had led Russian authorities to think of Western powers that "these people from the global community - they are nice, they are weak".

The White House reacted Sunday night to France's claim that it "convinced" President Donald Trump to maintain the US military presence in Syria, shortly after the two allies took part in airstrikes against the Assad regime.

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".

British Prime Minister Theresa May said in London that the West had tried "every possible" diplomatic means to stop Assad from using chemical weapons. There are no changes to his planned trip to Russian Federation next month, he said.

"Strikes by US, France and United Kingdom make it clear that Syrian regime together with Russia & Iran can not continue this human tragedy, at least not without cost".

In a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the weekend, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said any further strikes by the United States in Syria could lead to "chaos in global relations", according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Macron added that the strikes on Syria had been "perfectly carried out".

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