Emmanuel Macron 'convinced Donald Trump' to stay in Syria

French President Emmanuel Macron talks with TF1 news anchorman Jean Pierre Pernaut after interview in classroom at a primary school in Berdhuis west of Paris

Some mocked Mr Macron's choice of venue Credit YOAN VALAT AFP

The French strikes, involving 12 cruise missiles, fighter jets and warships, were President Emmanuel Macron's first major military decision since taking office in May past year. "Please be reassured we've convinced him that we had to stay on in the long-term".

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

French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to join the operation in a statement shortly after the strike was launched late Friday, stressing that France's participation was limited to "the capabilities of the Syrian regime for the production and use of chemical weapons".

Days later, after Syrian president Bashar-al Assad carried out his latest deadly chemical-weapons attack against rebel forces and civilians, Trump was reported to be blustering about punishing Russian Federation and Iran, which would carry great risk of broadening the Syrian Civil War. "We convinced him that it was necessary to stay", Macron said during a two-hour televised interview with several French media outlets. The airstrikes marked Macron's biggest foreign policy yet. Macron invited Trump to Bastille day celebrations previous year and will travel to Washington on a state visit this month.

Macron reaffirmed that there was proof of chemical attacks, adding: "We had reached a point where these strikes were necessary to give back the [international] community some credibility". "They have not used chlorine themselves but they have methodically built the global community's inability to act through diplomatic channels to stop the use of chemical weapons", he said.

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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.

Le Drian insisted it was important to continue talking to Russian Federation, and that Macron's trip to St. Petersburg at the end of May would go ahead as planned.

France used its Rafale jets to target chemical research and storage sites in a Damascus suburb in Syria after Macron had said, "The red line had been crossed".

Trump's complete lack of philosophical coherence is part of the reason Macron and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May face fury from both their left and right for supporting Trump's air strikes.

François Delattre, the French ambassador to the United Nations, said France could not "let the genie of proliferation out of the bottle", adding that Damascus "reached the point of no return" in the April 7th attacks on Ghouta.

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