Macron says Syria crossed France's 'red line'

17 April, 2018, 20:36 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting of the Bishops' Conference of France at College des Bernardins in Paris Monday

Macron said the strikes were legal and an act to implement global resolutions and enforce worldwide law and not to declare war on Syrian regime.

"We have proof that chemical weapons, at least chlorine, were used, and that they were used by the Bashar al-Assad regime", the French president said in an hour-long midday TV interview.

Macron said one of his aims in Syria was to "remove the regime's chemical attack capabilities", but added that he wanted to avoid "an escalation".

"We convinced him it was necessary to stay".

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

A team from the world's chemical arms watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was expected to arrive in Syria on Thursday and Friday begin a fact-finding mission in Douma.

Macron invited Trump to assist to Bastille day celebrations a year ago and will travel to Washington on a state visit later this month.

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The remarks by Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed claims by French President Emmanuel Macron of "proof" that Syria used chemical weapons in the attack and a declaration that France will respond at a "time of our choosing".

Macron's comments were widely interpreted as moving France closer to joining the United States in a possible military strike despite critics' worries about a reprise of France's participation in a 2011 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation intervention in Libya, which helped bring down ruler Moammar Gadhafi but threw Libya into deeper chaos. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity. "They have not used chlorine themselves, but they have methodically contributed to the global community's powerlessness to prevent the use of chemical weapons by diplomatic means", he said.

The tweet further incensed Russian Federation who had already warned United States missiles would be shot down and "launch sites" - believed to be the two American warships on patrol in the Mediterranean - would be blown up.

During his interview, Macron said Putin was an "accomplice" to Syria's alleged use of chemicals weapons.

The strike has been furious condemned by Syrian ally Russian Federation, who attempted to bring a motion in the United Nations Security Council on Saturday to denounce the "aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic by the USA and its allies".

Asked to comment on possible USA strikes, Peskov said "it's necessary to avoid any steps that may fuel tensions in Syria".

The Kremlin on Thursday warned the USA and its allies, who are weighing military strikes on Syria, to avoid any steps that could destabilize the situation there. In fact, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no additional attacks were planned.

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