Sunday, 15 July, 2018

'We convinced him': Macron says he steered Trump on Syria strikes

'We convinced him': Macron says he steered Trump on Syria strikes 'We convinced him': Macron says he steered Trump on Syria strikes
Melinda Barton | 16 April, 2018, 23:38

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, arriving for a summit of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg, said: "The action that was taken by France, by the UK, by the United States in launching calibrated and proportionate strikes against Assad's chemical weapons capabilities, was entirely right, entirely the right thing to do - right for the UK and right for the world".

"I assure you, we have convinced him that it is necessary to stay for the long-term", Macron told veteran journalists Jean-Jacques Bourdin and Edwy Plenel.

Macron says he changed Trump's mind in a phone call before the airstrikes on Friday night. "We convinced him that we had to limit attacks on chemical weapons, when re has been a media wrapping through tweets", he said in reference to Trump's war threats against Damascus through social networks in recent days. Macron invited Trump to Bastille day celebrations previous year and will travel to Washington on a state visit this month.

A day after France joined the United States and Britain in launching unprecedented strikes against regime targets, Macron insisted the intervention was legitimate and urged worldwide powers to push for a diplomatic solution to the brutal seven-year war.

France considers that worldwide military operation constitutes a serious warning to Syria that it must open its way to a dialogued way.

Macron added that Russian Federation, which backs Assad politically and militarily, had paved the way for the Syrian government's actions.

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria", Macron said.

"Of course they are complicit".

But he again argued it had been necessary to send a signal that the use of chemical weapons against civilians would not go unpunished.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France wants to launch a diplomatic initiative over Syria that would include Turkey, Russia and Western powers.

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. The U.N. Security Council met to debate the strikes, but rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies.

However, Mr Macron said that by joining forces with France and the United Kingdom for last Saturday's air strikes, the USA "fully realised that our responsibility went above and beyond the war against IS, and that it was a humanitarian responsibility as well on the ground".

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