France's Macron says he persuaded Trump to keep troops in Syria

Adjust Comment Print

While there had been general public warnings broadcast by U.S. President Donald Trump, Macron himself and other Western leaders, a French presidency source said Macron did not tell Russian President Vladimir Putin the allies would strike overnight when they talked over the phone on Friday.

"We have seen a regime appearing to think they can use chemical weapons with impunity".

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".

Mr Macron maintained that he "never said" either the United States or France would stay engaged long-term in Syria in a military sense - hours after saying in a live Sunday interview that he had managed to change Mr Trump's mind on withdrawing troops.

President Donald Trump was evasive about when the U.S. might attack Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons assault, saying it could be "very soon or not so soon at all!" "The Turks condemned the chemical weapons". "We convinced him to remain".

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.

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

Macron also claimed credit for convincing Donald Trump to stay involved in the conflict during an interview with journalist Jean Jacques Bourdin
Macron also claimed credit for convincing Donald Trump to stay involved in the conflict during an interview with journalist Jean Jacques Bourdin

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.

"We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return".

He added that Paris would work with all countries and that there were no changes to Macron's planned trip to Russian Federation next month.

It comes after Putin warned there would be "consequences" for the strikes, which targeted chemical weapons facilities.

Macron said in a written statement that the attack had been limited to Syria's chemical weapons facilities and said the facts and the responsibility of the Syrian regime were beyond doubt.

Macron, who had made the use of chemical weapons a "red line" not to be crossed, bemoaned Russia's use this week of its veto to block a UN Security Council resolution on setting up an investigation into the attack that would name those responsible.

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