1. Leaders from Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Malta enter news conference
3. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Mariano Rajoy, Spanish Prime Minister:
"The countries from the south of Europe condemn in the strongest terms the aerial attack with chemical weapons on 4 April in Syria. We understand that the attack by the United States in Syria had the understandable objective to impede and avoid the distribution and use of chemical weapons, this was the objective of the mission."
4. News conference
5. SOUNDBITE (French) Francois Hollande, French President:
"The fight against terrorism is the prime demand of the people. We are faced with threats which are again terribly painful: in Stockholm a few days ago, and if you want to look beyond Europe: Cairo, Alexandria yesterday. We have the obligation to reinforce our defence, move to protect our frontiers and fight even more against terrorism."
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Muscat, Maltese Prime Minister:
"We discussed in specific manners the issues regarding our citizens, European citizens in the UK and British citizens in Europe. And we believe, this is one of the first things we need to solve, that people should not be used as bargaining chips and there should be a solution, clear and fast solution to the issue regarding to citizens."
The leaders of seven southern European Union (EU) countries on Monday condemned the Syrian government for its use of chemical weapons and backed the US retaliatory attack.
In a statement ending a half-day summit near Madrid, the leaders of Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta said they "condemned in the strongest terms" Syria's chemical strike on 4 April.
They went on to say that the US airstrike days later on Syria's Shayrat Airfield "had the understandable intention to prevent and deter the spread and use of chemical weapons and was limited and focused on this objective".
French President Francois Hollande said the EU's duty was to strengthen its defence, protect is frontiers and fight against extremism.
The informal meeting was the third to be held by the southern nations and follows gatherings in Athens last September and in Lisbon in January.
The group also discussed negotiations regarding Britain's exit from the EU.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat reiterated the stance that citizens should not be used as "bargaining chips" in Brexit negotiations.