Decision on Possible Syria Strikes to Be Announced Within Days, Macron Says

'In no case will the decision we take be intended to harm the regime's allies, or anyone else,' the French leader says

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting in Paris, April 9, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting in Paris, April 9, 2018.Credit: Ludovic Marin/AP

French President Emmanuel Macron says a decision on whether to attack the Syrian government's chemical capacities will be announced in the coming days.

"In this framework, we will continue exchanges of technical and strategic information with our partners, especially the British and Americans, and we will in the next days announce our decision," Macron said on Tuesday.

Any military response will be separate from discussions in the United Nations Security Council, set to start later Tuesday, Macron said.

The U.N. Security Council is due to vote on three draft resolutions on chemical weapons attacks in Syria, setting up a showdown between the United States and Russia.

The United States has requested the Security Council vote on a proposal for a new inquiry into chemical weapons in Syria. The resolution was likely to be blocked by Russia, which will put two draft resolutions on Syria of its own to a vote because it does not agree with the U.S. text, diplomats said.

The French leader added that any action would not be intended to harm government allies, who include Russia: "In no case will the decision we take be intended to harm the regime's allies, or anyone else, but to attack the chemical capacity of the regime, if the decision is taken."

On Tuesday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that Saudi Arabia could take part in military action in Syria. The Crown Prince is wrapping up a three-day visit to Paris.

"If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present," Prince Mohammed said at a news conference with Macron.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia's 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.

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.

Reuters contributed to the report.

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