France convinced U.S. to 'stay in Syria': Macron

Frederick Owens
April 17, 2018

The U.S. has threatened to respond militarily to the alleged chemical attack near the capital of Damascus last weekend that killed at least 40 people, many of them children, in the town of Douma.

During the interview the French President said his country had not declared war on Syria, calling the strikes a "reprisal" for violations of the treaty banning the use of chemical weapons.

He said France now wants to involve Western powers, Russian Federation and Turkey in a new diplomatic initiative to find a sustainable political solution in Syria.

"We have full worldwide legitimacy in intervening in this case", Macron said.

May and Macron's statements came shortly after President Trump addressed the US on the strikes from the White House.

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".

At the same time, Macron is trying to reinforce France's position as an enforcer of worldwide treaties, which includes the Chemical Weapons Convention that 192 countries have signed.

"Without declaring war against Bashar al-Assad, the joint strikes achieved their aims without leaving collateral casualties", confirmed Macron, adding that Damscus' chemical weapons capabilities have been destroyed.

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"We can not tolerate the trivialisation of the use of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and for our collective security", Mr Macron said.

The Syrian government denies responsibility.

"Ten days ago President Trump wanted the United States of America to withdraw from Syria". "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

"The tone was very direct, the two presidents were under no illusion about what was going to happen", the advisor told Reuters on Saturday, soon after the overnight air strikes.

But in her statement on Saturday morning, May said there was "no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime".

Around the same time as he was musing about power to his friend Philippe Besson after his election victory last May, Macron also laid out a clear policy on using military force in Syria. He spoke during a meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to the supreme leader of ally Iran.

As for his allies, Macron suggested France had helped change Trump's mind on the need to stay involved in the conflict.

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