France pays tribute to US role in combating terrorism

Nuclear Security Summit/Syria/Libya/Iraq/Daesh/Iran – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, in his joint statement with the President of the United States of America

Washington, 31 March 2016

First of all I’d like to thank President Barack Obama for organizing this Nuclear Security Summit. It was his wish as early as 2010 to make all countries fully aware there are risks. And those risks include terrorism.

The first purpose of this meeting is to discuss the global threat which terrorism poses to all countries. Europe is being hit harder, given that it’s the target of terrorists and particularly Daesh [so-called ISIL]. We saw it in Paris last year; we’re seeing it in Brussels. Together with President Obama, we’ve further coordinated our intelligence work to monitor those foreign fighters who can strike us. We’ve also ensured there can genuinely be very high-level coordination between Europe and the United States.

But we’re also aware that the source of Islamist terrorism is in Syria and Iraq. We must take action in Iraq and Syria; that’s what we’re doing in the coalition framework.

We’re observing that Daesh is retreating thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to carry out as part of that coalition. We must continue to support Iraq and the Iraqi government: that’s what we’ve also decided to do, so that it can recapture the whole of its territory, particularly Mosul.

In Syria, we’re taking action not only at the level of military support but also at political level. There too, we’re convinced that Daesh is currently losing the game. From this point of view, Raqqa is a goal for us. We must support all the forces – I’m talking in particular of the Arab and Kurdish forces – that are acting to ensure we can achieve that goal.

At political level, it’s also necessary to ensure that the truce which has been secured, and so far observed, can be used for a political transition and a negotiation in which all sides must be involved.

We’ll have the opportunity to talk to a number of heads of state and government in the region.

But it’s clear that the transition mustn’t lead to what was the very cause of the crisis and war in Syria being reproduced. There too, our goal is for another government, another regime to represent Syria’s future.

Finally, we talked about Libya. We must give our full recognition to the Libyan government, because it’s the Libyan government, led by Mr Sarraj, that will make international assistance and stability possible. Then we’ll be able to prevent migration, which can in fact both be tragic for the people concerned and provide an opportunity for the trafficking that fuels terrorism, and finally avoid Europe having to take in tens of thousands of people again, even though its duty is to ensure refugees can have access to the right of asylum. So we must do everything to ensure that stability in Libya can now be the priority.

We also discussed other subjects, including the agreement with Iran, because we – Barack Obama, I and of course all those who took part in the negotiation – played our role. And now we must ensure the commitments can be honoured.

That’s why it was important for us to be able to meet, and once again I want to pay tribute to the friendship between our two countries and also Barack Obama’s ability to stand alongside us in the fight against terrorism.

Thank you./.

Published on 06/04/2016

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