Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

France convinced Trump to stay in Syria, says Macron

France convinced Trump to stay in Syria, says Macron

"The U.S. mission has not changed - the President has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible", press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

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

"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. "The military strike was necessary and appropriate in order to preserve the effectiveness of the worldwide ban on the use of chemical weapons and to warn the Syrian regime against further violations", German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

He said the military strikes early on Saturday had been "perfectly carried out" but were not a declaration of war on 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.

His marathon interview on French broadcaster BFMTV lasted almost three hours - and #MacronBFMTV was a top trend on Twitter late on Sunday evening.

Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people. The Syrian leadership denied any involvement in the attack and invited the experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the reports.

The OPCW will not seek to establish - and publicly announce - who was responsible for the attack.

Commenting further on the issue, Macron said that the Western strikes had split Turks from Russian Federation in Syria, as Ankara has approved the attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions. After his generals talked him down from that idea, he opted for a conventional, possibly fruitless strike on Syrian chemical-weapons facilities. "This was not the first time that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against civilians but it must be the last". It said Syria's chemical weapons programme had been set back years.

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