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France Considers Striking Syria, Macron Claims He Has "Proof" Assad Used Chemical Weapons. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired April 12, 2018 - 11:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(SIMULCAST WITH CNNUS)

[11:37:45]

HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: If you just joining us we've been watching coverage of Mike Pompoe, President's Trump pick for Secretary of

State in the United States. He is been facing a grilling from the Senate Committee out there. In particular about how he would get on with the job

of being the top diplomat in America, in an age of course of America First and when there are some very, very pressing global crises happening of what

he would have to be hit the ground running in terms of taking on Mike Pompoe, we've just been watching him there on Capitol Hill.

But we want to get you to some other news as well. And we turn a (inaudible) game, right now the world's most powerful countries deciding

how to punish Syria that alleged chemical attack.

And just hours ago, an announcement that could completely change the playing field. The French President Emmanuel Macron claiming France has

proof that the Assad regime gassed its own people. Well, it comes just as countries in the west discussed whether or not to actually strike the

country.

CNN is on the ground inside Syria for you. Our Nick Paton Walsh, he is following developments from the Northern parts of the country. Also

Melissa Bell is standing by for us in Paris. Melissa, we'll come to you in second.

First to Nick, still a huge amount of uncertainty over the timing and deep in nature of what might be about to come. But nevertheless how is that

being received where you are? What are the preparations being made?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, still, military is in high alert and been (inaudible) of course, over the last 48

hour then moving assets around potentially in preparation for any future strikes.

But one complicating fact that has just emerged in the last hour, so the Syria envoy to the U.N. Bashar al-Jaafari has claimed or said that two

groups of OPCW, U.N. chemical weapons inspectors are on their way to Damascus.

In fact, he claims four of them have already arrived inside Syria. That's not something the OPCW wishes to comment on. But you can see potentially

have a Syrian regime might like to claim that an investigation on the ground is on the way, and therefore perhaps there is something U.S. strikes

should not interfering without potentially even putting as hazards. Of course, you have to bear in mind that it's all about really exactly what

kind of chemical was used.

Emmanuel Macron as you mentioned talks about chemical weapons at least chlorine potentially being used. But U.N. analysts have observe the muscle

twitches of some of the victims shown in a horrifying videos of the attack last week in Douma and just about perhaps assert that may have been a nerve

agent being used.

[11:40:09] One more important thing too, that the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis just has in testimony on the Hill said that prior to any attack they

will notify Congress and they will provide a reports shortly afterwards. This is also will potentially on the possibility of trying to ensure that

nothing escalates, "deaths out of control."

So clearly, the U.S. aware that the drum is beating, we're seeing Angela Merkel meeting with Emmanuel Macron. We have heard that Turkish's

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has both spoken to Donald Trump yesterday and Vladimir Putin today and clear what row he is playing.

The international drum beat toward some kind of retaliation continues to move despite Donald Trump's tweets. And I think really the feeling is

potentially we could be looking at some certainly if you look at warnings given to international air traffic about the24 hour I'm currently standing

in that expires recently soon that we could see some sort of action possibly in the hours ahead. Hannah?

JONES: Nick, thank you so much indeed.

Let's go over to Melissa Bell standing by in Paris. You heard earlier from the French President, Melissa, that he has proof of chemical weapons were

indeed used in this attack. What proof is this?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the time being, Hannah, the Elysee simply not saying we've reached out to them just after these

comments we made on French television this afternoon.

They said they had nothing to add what the president had enough, saying at some point they are going to have to make clear whether or not they intend

to make this proof that they say they have public and what exactly it involves.

And it's been a big shift in what Emmanuel Macron had the same subject. Just in the last couple of days, Hannah, which is really interesting, the

last time he make public comments on Syria on the possibility of chemical weapons having been used in Douma over the weekend was on Tuesday when he

was standing alongside the Saudi Crown Prince. And then his words were much more cautions. He seems to suggest that what the French were looking

at where things that were in the public domain that newspapers, that the media were relaying that the NGOs had access too.

So clearly referring to the first draft (ph) that have so shocked the world and that as a result of that there was a strong sense that these chemical

weapons have been used and that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was probably to blame. But today his words were far stronger. He had proof he claimed

and proof that the regime was involved.

So there will be a lot of question about what kind of proof is going to be given and when the world is, of course, all seeing that very urging

question.

The other thing that Emmanuel Macron did in answering that question on Syria, Hannah, was rather as Donald Trump had earlier in the day with that

tweet sort of muddy the waters in terms of any possibly time. Take a listen to what he has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (via translation): Yes, everyday since the beginning of the week, our teams are working closely together and

we will decisions to make when the time comes, when we will judge it to useful and effective.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: So when the time comes, actually we'll be taken but no further word than about timings and as I say, we wait to hear what proof there is.

JONES: All right, thanks to both Melissa in Paris, also to Nick Paton Walsh, standing by in Northern Syria. Thank you very much.

And thank you for watching, I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones in London, stay tuned. The World Sports coming up next.

[11:45:00]

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