PARIS (Reuters) – When Emmanuel Macron called Vladimir Putin on Friday, the day before launching his first major military operation with strikes on Syria, the French president knew the credibility of his foreign policy was at stake.
Less than a year ago, in the ornate Gallery of Battles of the palace of Versailles, he warned the Russian leader in their first meeting that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a red line that would result in reprisals.
Chemical - Attack - Place - Line - Putin
“I believe this chemical attack took place, I believe my red line was crossed,” he told Putin in the Friday morning phone call, according to a close advisor at the Elysee palace.
“The tone was very direct, the two presidents were under no illusion about what was going to happen,” the advisor told Reuters on Saturday, soon after the overnight air strikes.
Decision - Government - Targets - Week - Diplomacy
The decision to strike Syrian government targets followed a week of hectic diplomacy and coordination with U.S. and British allies.
Last Sunday evening, Macron sat with a small group of advisors at the Elysee palace to watch numerous graphic images and videos of suffering children following an attack the previous day on Douma, which France and allies say was a chemical attack.
President - Seriousness - Attacks - Advisor
“The president immediately realized the seriousness of these attacks,” the first advisor said.
RED LINE “MEANT TO BE RESPECTED”
Phone - Call
After a first phone call with...
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