Macron, Putin discuss Syria over phone

Police in France Begin Clearing Airport Protest Camp

Police in France Begin Clearing Airport Protest Camp

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he has convinced President TrumpDonald John TrumpRobert De Niro, Ben Stiller play Mueller and Cohen in "SNL" parody of "Meet the Parents" Trump order targets wide swath of public assistance programs Comey says Trump reacted to news of Russian meddling by asking if it changed election results MORE to keep US troops in Syria long-term.

Appearing live on French television BFM and online investigative site Mediapart, the 40-year-old leader said the US, Britain and France had "full worldwide legitimacy to intervene" with the strikes, to enforce global humanitarian law.

Mr Macron described the alleged chemical weapons attack on April 7 in the Syrian city of Douma as being responsible for the "deaths of dozens of men, women and children".

Limiting the strikes to these specific targets was not necessarily Trump's initial plan, Macron said.

While it is unusual for a French president to present himself as driving United States policy on military matters in the Middle East, Macron and Trump have developed a friendly relationship over the past year.

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.


"We convinced him it was necessary to stay", he added. "We also persuaded him that we needed to limit the strikes to chemical weapons after things got a little carried away over tweets", he added.

He stated: "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying the United States of America had a duty to disengage from Syria". "It is global community that has intervened, and has done so in an extremely precise way", he added and reiterated that France considers that it has sufficient evidence that Damascus is behind use of chemical weapons in city of Duma a little over a week ago.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that France wants to launch a diplomatic initiative over Syria that would include Turkey, Russia and Western powers. There are no changes to his planned trip to Russian Federation next month, he said.

He added that he told Putin that Russian Federation was complicit in the use of chemical weapons by Syria's Assad.

Asked if using military force would restore peace, Macron said that "France is the country that has been the most active in terms of diplomacy and humanitarian aid in recent months, and we came at a time when this strike was essential to give credibility to our community".

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.

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