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Syrian conflict

Saudi Arabia and France could both mount military response to Syria in wake of ‘chemical attack’

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would decide ‘in the coming days’ on his response, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi ‘will be present’ if the US asks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 4:48am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 April, 2018, 5:53am

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and France have both said that they could take part in military action in Syria after a suspected chemical attack killed at least 60 people in the eastern Ghouta region over the weekend.

US President Donald Trump on Monday promised quick, forceful action in response to the attack, appearing to suggest a potential military response.

“If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Tuesday at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, wrapping up a three-day visit to Paris.

Macron said he would decide “in the coming days” on his response, in conjunction with the US and Britain. 

“Our decision will not target allies of the regime or attack anyone but rather attack the regime’s chemical capabilities,” he said, insisting he did “not want an escalation”.  

Macron said France’s information had shown “that chemical weapons were indeed used and that the regime could clearly be held responsible”. 

Earlier, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had told reporters that a number of countries were holding consultations on how to respond to a chemical weapons attack in Syria and called for those responsible to be held accountable.

“Our position is that those responsible have to be held accountable and brought to justice,” he said.

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When asked whether Saudi Arabia could be part of such a response, Jubeir declined to comment.

“I’m not going to get into speculation about what may nor may not take place but all I can say is that there are discussions with regards to the options that are available to deal with this matter,” he said.