U.S. allies reacted with support Friday for the U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces. Tuesday's chemical attack, which targeted a rebel-held town, killed at least 86 people, including 27 children.
Here are what some of them said:
The Saudi Foreign Ministry praised Trump’s “courageous decision” and blamed the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for the chemical weapons attack. The ministry said the missile launch ordered by President Trump was the right response to “the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his support for the strike. "In words and actions, President Trump sent a strong and clear response: The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. Israel fully and unequivocally supports the president's decision and hopes the clear message will reverberate not only in Damascus but also in Tehran, Pyongyang and other places," Netanyahu said Friday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
A government spokesperson said in a statement that it "fully supports the U.S. action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.” The United Kingdom is a close military ally of the United States.
FRANCE AND GERMANY
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement: “President Assad alone bears responsibility for this development.” The statement issued by both their offices followed a phone call between the two leaders to discuss the U.S. strikes. “His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own population had to be sanctioned.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada “fully supports” the United States' “limited and focused action." "President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity,” he said in a statement.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that Trump's action "was a response motivated by a war crime," Italy's ANSA news agency reported. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said the U.S. action "was proportionate in timing and methods, as a response to an unacceptable sense of impunity, as well as a signal of deterrent towards the risk of further use of chemical weapons by Assad, in addition to those ascertained by the U.N." ANSA reported.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Syrian regime bears “full responsibility” for the U.S. strike. “NATO has consistently condemned Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons as a clear breach of international norms and agreements,” he said. “Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable.”
Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council of EU leaders, appeared to welcome Trump’s action. “US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria,” he tweeted. A separate statement from the High Representative on behalf of the EU said: “The EU firmly believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict and is committed to the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Syrian State.” It said only a political solution would defeat the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria, and reiterated its support for the U.N.-mediated peace talks in Geneva.
At least two countries took a neutral stance:
Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, said "China supports the United Nations in launching an independent and comprehensive investigation" into both the chemical attack, and the U.S. retaliation. "China called on all sides to prevent the deterioration of the situation in order to ensure the political solution in the Syria crisis" said Hua, according to the official Xinhua news agency. The strike occurred while President Xi Jinping was visiting Trump for a summit in Florida.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström called on the U.N. Security Council to seek a diplomatic resolution. “It is unclear whether the missile attack last night is the new American policy. It is important that there is also an international legal basis for action,” she said in a statement. “Last night's missile attack also raises questions about how this could be compatible with international law. The issue must therefore return to the security council, which must take responsibility to reach a lasting political solution,” Wallström said.
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