By Middle East Affairs
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he had not intended to insinuate that the United States changed its position on Syria because of him, Reuters reported.
These comments come after the White House countered his statement Saturday that he had talked Trump into keeping troops in Syria for the “long term.”
The White House said Sunday that Trump maintained his prior desire to remove U.S. troops from Syria as soon as possible and “completely crush ISIS.”
“The White House is right in saying that the military engagement is against Daesh (acronym for Islamic State) and will stop the day the war against Daesh will be over. France has the same view,” Macron told reporters Monday.
“But yes, I am right in saying that the United States, because they decided this intervention (the Saturday strikes) with us, fully realized that our responsibility goes beyond the war against Daesh and that there is also a humanitarian responsibility and a responsibility to build peace over the long term.”
Macron also said in the interview broadcast by BFM TV, RMC radio and Mediapart online news that he told Trump that he needed to focus the strikes on the chemical weapons storage facilities.
On Saturday, Macron elaborated that he had talked Trump into keeping troops in Syria.
“We convinced him it was necessary to remain there,” Macron said in telephone calls Saturday before France carried out joint air strikes in Syria with the United States and Britain. The air strikes were in response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria on April 7, which much of the global community has blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
However, the statement by the White House on Sunday seemed to push back on Macron.
“The U.S. mission has not changed – the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement at the White House.
“We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return.” However she also said the U.S. wants its regional allies and partners “to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”