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Ready for talk to bring peace back to Syria: Macron

16 April 2018

PARIS-French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he convinced his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to not disengage from Syria and to limit airstrikes to chemical-weapons targets.

U.S. President Donald Trump still wants American forces in Syria to return home as soon as possible, the White House said on Sunday, after French President Emmanuel Macron said he had convinced Trump to keep a U.S. presence there for "the long term". "We convinced him to remain", French President Emmanuel Macron said live on French television BFM and online investigative site Mediapart.

In telephone calls before Saturday's airstrikes, Macron said he had persuaded Trump not to pull out of Syria.

"They have not used chlorine themselves but they have methodically built the worldwide community's inability to act through diplomatic channels to stop the use of chemical weapons", he said of Russian Federation.

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 now push for a diplomatic solution to the brutal seven-year war.

"Without declaring war against Bashar al-Assad, the joint strikes achieved their aims without leaving collateral casualties", confirmed Macron, adding that Damscus' chemical weapons capabilities have been destroyed.

The French president nevertheless said he wanted to engage in dialogue with all parties involved, including Moscow, in order to find a political solution for Syria. "With those strikes we have separated the Russians and the Turks on this". Stoltenberg said: "Before the attack took place last night, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies exhausted all other possible ways to address this issue to the U.N. Security Council but ... were blocked by Russian Federation ..."

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

"We have complete worldwide legitimacy to act in this framework", Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news.

Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said no further strikes were planned, but that this would be reassessed if more chemical attacks took place.

Three sites. Firstly, the Barzeh complex, which the U.S. says is a centre for development, production and testing of chemical and biological weapons, although Syria denies this.

Ready for talk to bring peace back to Syria: Macron