For France's Macron, Syria red lines were credibility test

French fighter jet

"Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay", Macron said in an interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news.

"We have not declared war on the regime of Bashar al-Assad", Macron said in the interview.

"We have not declared war on the regime of Bashar al-Assad", the 40-year-old centrist said at the start of a marathon two-hour interview with BFM television to mark nearly a year in office.

But Macron again argued his first major military intervention as president was necessary to send a signal that the use of chemical weapons against civilians would not go unpunished.

Paris: President Emmanuel Macron said today that France's air strikes in Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack were not a declaration of war against the Damascus regime.

"What I want you to understand is that we have full worldwide legitimacy in intervening in this case", Macron said.

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

And he further argued that the operation was legitimate despite not being sanctioned by the United Nations, retorting that under a 2013 United Nations resolution Syria was supposed to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal.

Macron also offered to play the role of intermediary between the United States and Russian Federation.

Former civil servants write to Modi asking for strict action on rapes
PM Modi will hold bilateral talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and meet the country's monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Modi will hold separate bilateral meetings with the leaders of the other four Nordic countries on the sidelines of the summit.

The White House hasn't commented on Macron's claim, but President Trump is likely to swat down the notion that anyone told him what to do.

"The President has been clear that he wants United States forces to come home as quickly as possible", spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

But she added that the U.S. was "determined to completely crush" the Islamic State group and prevent its return.

She added: "In addition, we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region".

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.

Trump said the USA was prepared to keep up the economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what Trump called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons.

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

"This mandate is given democratically to the president by the people in the presidential election", he said.

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