Macron Says He Told Putin Russia 'Complicit' in 'Syrian Chemical Weapons Use'
21:48 15.04.2018(updated 23:18 15.04.2018)
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that Paris convinced the US administration to "stay in Syria long term."
Macron claimed on Sunday that the missile attack against Syria was "legitimate" and conducted within the international community framework. He added that all missiles launched by French jets as part of the joint strike against Syrian facilities reached all their targets. At the same time, the French president promised that Paris has not declared war on Damascus, despite France's participation in the anti-Syrian strikes.
Macron, as a means of claiming the legitimacy of the military action, noted that intelligence services serving France and its allies had evidence that chemical weapons had been used in Syria.
"No, this operation was legitimate and was held in a multilateral format… The international community has intervened and did it very accurately," the president said.
"Strikes on Syria are an act of retaliation, not an act of war," the French president asserted.
All the goals of the strike on Syria were reached, he added.
"From the military point of view our operation was a success," Macron said in an interview with BFMTV, adding that the missile attacks were performed in a professional way.
Commenting further, Macron said that the western airstrikes had pulled a Turkish diplomatic alignment away from Russia in Syria, as Ankara approved the missile attack. The French president also said that he had declared to Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow was complicit in an alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Macron also remarked that Paris considers a dialogue with Russia, Turkey, and Iran on Syria to be a necessary part of any settlement.
"I have said from the very beginning that in order to reach a sustainable solution on Syria it is necessary to talk to Iran, Russia and Turkey. [It is necessary to be engaged in dialogue] with Iran, because of its presence in Syria… with Russia because its servicemen are there and it backs the regime of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad," he said.
France was one of three countries – along with the US and the UK – that hit Syria with missiles on Friday in response to an alleged chemical incident in the city of Douma. Western states have accused forces loyal to Assad of staging an attack using chemical weapons in Douma. The Syrian leadership denied any involvement in the attack and invited experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate.
According to the Russian military, the three countries fired over 100 cruise and air-to-surface missiles, most of which were shot down by the Syrian air defense.
According to Syrian authorities – which have repeatedly said they previously destroyed all chemical weapons stockpiles – the attack damaged some infrastructure and wounded three civilians.
Russia slammed the US-led airstrikes as an act of aggression against a sovereign state, and President Putin said that the attack was conducted in violation of international law.
In the meantime, Macron confirmed that he would visit Russia in May.
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