Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Macron says he 'convinced' Trump to stay in Syria ahead of strikes

Macron says he 'convinced' Trump to stay in Syria ahead of strikes

Mr Macron said "we can not tolerate the normalisation of the use of chemical weapons", in a statement.

Macron said officials helped narrow the president's focus for potential strikes after he had "gotten a little carried away over tweets", Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, leader of the far-right party Front National Marine Le Pen said with its decision to follow the USA and Britain to carry out the strikes, France lost "an opportunity to appear in the worldwide scene as an independent power".

Macron, speaking on French television BFM and online site Mediapart, said "we are preparing a political solution" for Syria, a day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching strikes.

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria", Macron said during a two-hour grilling on French television, broadcast days after his government joined the US and Britain in launching strikes against alleged Syrian regime chemical weapons facilities.

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

Her statement suggests USA troops in Syria are not going anywhere, despite the president's assurances earlier this month that US troops will be leaving Syria "very soon".

He reaffirmed that there was proof of chemical attacks, adding: "We had reached a point where these strikes were necessary to give back the (international) community some credibility". "He [Russian president Vladimir Putin] has understood it's not the case any more".

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

Macron had warmer words for Turkey. "The Turks condemned the chemical weapons".

"These strikes against Syria engage us in a way with unpredictable and potentially dramatic consequences", she warned on Twitter.

Like Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May, Macron has faced a domestic backlash for striking Syria without consulting the legislature, but he defended the move as well within his constitutional powers.

The French intelligence report said no deaths from mechanical injuries were visible and all symptoms were characteristic of a chemical weapons attack, particularly choking agents and organophosphorus agents or hydrocyanic acid.

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