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In phone call with Putin, Macron asserts Western strikes on Syria were legitimate

Emmanuel Macron also expressed readiness to build dialogue on Syria

PARIS, April 23. /TASS/. The military strike against a number of targets in Syria carried out by the Western coalition including the US, the UK and France on April 14 was legitimate, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Elysee Palace reported on Monday.

"President [Emmanuel Macron] spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone this morning [on Monday]. He [Macron] recalled the operation against the chemical potential of the Syrian regime conducted on April 14 together with the United States and the United Kingdom was legitimate in order to make sure that international law is observed," the Elysee Palace stated.

During the conversation with the Russian leader, Macron insisted that the West’s objective was to derail any schemes to produce and store chemical weapons. By the same token, Western countries claim that Damascus has covertly maintained this program contrary to Syria’s commitments to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). "It was necessary to pool our efforts to put an end to Syria’s chemical program and the [Syrian] regime’s repression of its own people," the Elysee Palace’s press service quotes Macron as saying.

Macron also said that Paris was ready to make active efforts to build dialogue on a peace settlement in the Syria, particularly in cooperation with Moscow.

"He [Macron] emphasized France’s determination to immediately start stepping up efforts through dialogue with all the powers concerned in order to launch a credible political process and intensify humanitarian activities to provide assistance to civilians," the statement reads, adding that the French president also highlighted his willingness to work together with Russia.

According to Macron, France will continue to take steps in the United Nations Security Council aimed at facilitating the search for ways to resolve the Syrian crisis. "In particular, work is underway in the UN Security Council that should seek to unite the global community. Together, we must take responsibility for bringing peace back to Syria," the Elysee Palace added.

A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the White Helmets, earlier alleged chemical weapons had been used in the Syrian town of Douma on April 7. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports as fake news. Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that the White Helmets are notorious for spreading falsified information.

On April 9, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria examined Douma and found no traces of any chemical weapons use. On April 14, the United States, Britain and France dealt a missile strike against Syrian military and civilian infrastructures without the authorization of the UN Security Council, saying that it was in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by government troops in Douma.