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Danish foreign minister supports US Syria bombing

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Danish foreign minister supports US Syria bombing
The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea on April 7, 2017. Photo: Ford Williams/US Navy/Scanpix
14:34 CEST+02:00
Denmark’s foreign minister Ander Samuelsen says that he supports President Donald Trump’s decision to bomb Syria in the wake of gas attacks in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

Samuelsen’s support for the American measure was near-unconditional as he expressed his support for last night’s military attack on a Syrian airbase.

“I support the American attack 100 percent. It is a response to a clear violation of all international rules, namely the use of chemical weapons,” said Samuelsen in an interview with newspaper Politiken.

The Sarin gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province could “have just as great an effect on American foreign policy as 9/11 had on Bush,” Samuelsen continued, in reference to the Trump administration’s hitherto isolationist stance on foreign policy.

“Bush’s rhetoric when he was campaigning for election was that American interests should be focused upon, in other words an inward-looking rhetoric, like Trump has had,” the minister said, adding that “the same thing was happening now”, referencing Bush’s change to a globalist policy in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The majority of Danish politicians and parties have reacted to the overnight attacks by expressing their support for Trump’s position.

“International society cannot stand idly by while a dictator gasses his own population. For once I agree with Trump,” said Morten Østergaard, leader of the opposition Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) Party, according to Politiken.

Søren Espersen, deputy leader of the nationalist Danish People’s Party, said that the US military operation was a “resolute, fair and proactive reaction from the USA in response to Syria’s despicable chemical murders,” reports the newspaper.

The opposition Social Democrat and Alternative parties were more critical.

Ane Halsboe of the Social Democrats, chairperson of parliament’s foreign policy committee, called for a “common strategy, where we think in broader terms than bombs.”

The environmentally-focused Alternative Party’s foreign policy spokesperson Rasmus Nordqvist expressed his concern about the unilateral nature of the strike.

“The UN cannot agree about a resolution on gas attacks and the USA is bombing airbases without the approval of congress. That doesn’t seem like a long-term strategy to me,” said Nordqvist according to Politiken.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande said in a joint statement that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad bore “sole responsibility” for the US strike.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the US strike "an act of aggression against a sovereign nation", reports the BBC.

The attacks represent the first time during the six-year Syrian conflict that the United States has directly attacked the Assad regime.

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