The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump still intends an early exit for U.S. troops in Syria, as French President Emmanuel Macron attempted to walk back his suggestion that he had convinced Trump to keep them there for the “long term.”
Macron’s remarks on Sunday had hinted at a major policy shift for Trump, who had said he wanted a U.S. departure from Syria “very soon.” But “our policy hasn’t changed,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, and Trump remains focused on defeating the ISIL and on getting countries in the Persian Gulf to pick up the financial and military burden of Syria stabilization in the future.
The United States, France and Britain have all offered official justifications for their joint military strike on Syrian chemical weapons sites last weekend, as well as their own version of what it means for Syria’s civil war.
In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May rejected political criticism that she acted on Trump’s “whims” and said that her decision to send Royal Air Force warplanes to attack Syrian targets was not done as a favor to the U.S. president.
“We have not done this because President Trump asked us to do so,” May told the House of Commons on Monday. “We have done it because it is in our national interest to do so.”
Averting an “overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe is permissible under international law,” May said.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May during a press conference in 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, April 14, 2018. British Prime Minister Theresa May says the need to act quickly and protect “operational security” led her to strike Syria without a prior vote in Parliament.
Macron and Trump also have cited the preservation of international law against the use of chemical weapons, although Trump has said his constitutional powers to protect “U.S. interests” provided authority to order the strikes without congressional consultation.
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main backer, has said that an alleged chemical attack on April 7 in the Damascus suburb of Douma did not happen, and that it was a provocation staged by anti-Assad rebels.
May said British confidence that the Syian government was responsible for the chemical attack, which killed dozens of civilians, was based …read more