France will always be stronger than fanatics - President

Attack in Nice – Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Nice, 15 July 2016

I wanted to come to Nice this morning, after a Defence Council meeting with the Prime Minister and the main ministers involved in our necessary response to this unspeakable act, in which an individual got hold of a lorry and used it to murderous ends. Why Nice? Because it’s a city known all over the world, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Why 14 July? Because it’s the festival of freedom, and so it was indeed in order to strike at France that this individual committed this terrorist attack.

With the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister, the Social Affairs Minister and the elected representatives who accompanied us, I wanted first of all to take into account the organization, today, of what we must do for the whole department and the whole city, to guarantee their full security and prevent there being the slightest threat to the population in case there are accomplices. But we also wanted to express our sympathy with the victims and their families. As I speak, 80 people are dead – 84 to be precise – and about 50 are in a critical condition, fighting for their lives. Those victims include French people and also many foreigners, from every continent, and there are many children, young children, who had come to attend a firework display with their families, to have fun, to share a happy moment, a dazzling experience, and who were struck down in this way, struck down and killed, simply to satisfy the cruelty of an individual and perhaps a group.

We also saw the injured, many injured people who, above all, still have terrible images in their minds and who, while they’re suffering physically, are suffering even more from the psychological wounds. And there are even people who received no physical injuries but who will bear for a long time – for their whole lives – the trauma of those images of horror which, sadly, they had to share. Many told me they remembered nothing about what might have caused their injuries, but on the other hand they did remember the mutilated bodies before their eyes. That’s why we, the whole of France, must share that pain, that solidarity with the victims, with their loved ones, with their families.

And there’s also the commitment, the bravery we were able to see once again, among the security forces, which were all mobilized, which took every measure to ensure the firework display could be protected, as far as was possible – as had also been the case during Euro 2016 here in Nice. Those security forces got involved to neutralize the killer.

My thoughts are still with those young police officers who acted to ensure the killer could be killed and thus put an end to the carnage. Yes, the security forces – fully mobilized, fully committed, overstretched with all the demands of recent months, particularly since the attacks of January and November 2015 in Paris and Saint-Denis.

I want to pay tribute here to all those forces, who are the pride of France: the police, the gendarmerie, the intelligence services – all those who help investigate and identify.

And there are also the firefighters, who did an extraordinary job with the emergency services to evacuate and drive [injured people] to hospitals in the city and even outside the city, because with the White Plan [hospital emergency mechanism] having been triggered, many hospitals took in the injured.

I went to that hospital which coped with the situation, and there too the emergency services were wonderful, doctors came in – even though they weren’t on duty – throughout the night to perform surgery, operate, provide treatment and save lives. Others weren’t able to be there, but up to the very last moment everything was done. And I want to pay tribute to all these hospital staff, who were utterly dedicated.

Then there are all the volunteers, all the voluntary organizations which immediately got involved as well. Commitment is also something we must learn from this tragedy, this dramatic event, this terrorist attack – one more, following several others now over the past five years.

We face what will be a long battle because our enemy is going to continue striking a blow against all peoples, all countries which have freedoms as an essential value.

So in this battle, we must count on the commitment of our forces, our public services, the whole state. The Prime Minister and I have been taking decisions for several months which are necessary to increase the number of staff, which was unfortunately sometimes eroded in the past. But we haven’t finished, and we’ll go on keeping watch over and protecting the French people.

Commitment also means being strong. The whole world is watching us once again, expressing to us its solidarity, telling us – with words of great friendship and affection for France – what it thinks of us. The world thinks we are a strong country, a country capable of overcoming all trials. And there have been trials in the past few months. We’ve set the world a great example, because we’ve shown unity and cohesion. And it’s my job, my responsibility not to let myself be swayed from the commitment I made on behalf of the French people to protect them, not to stoop to any extremes, excesses, when it’s a matter of responding (...) to the challenges we have been set, using every means necessary to do so.

And it’s this unity, this cohesion, this strength that I appeal for today, in Nice, so that France can be stronger than those who mean us harm, who think about harming France, who inflict suffering on it. But they are the harm that we’re capable of defeating, because we’re a unified France. Thank you./.

Fight against terrorism – Attack in Nice – Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic

Paris, 15 July 2016

Horror… Horror has just descended on France once again.

As I speak, 77 people have sadly been killed, including several children, and some 20 people are in a critical condition. It cannot be denied that this was a terrorist attack and, once again, it was an extremely violent one, and it’s clear that we must do everything to ensure we can fight the scourge of terrorism.

The driver was shot dead. At this point we don’t know whether he had any accomplices, but we’re making sure that his identification, which is going to be confirmed, can put us onto any possible leads.

France was hit on its National Day, 14 July, the symbol of freedom, because human rights are denied by the fanatics, and because France is obviously their target.

On behalf of a nation in tears, I express our solidarity with the victims and their families.

All resources are being deployed to help the injured. The White Plan mobilizing all hospitals in the region has been triggered. After Paris in January 2015, then in November last year, along with Saint-Denis, now Nice, in turn, has been hit. The whole of France is under the threat of Islamist terrorism.

So in these circumstances, we must show absolute vigilance and unfailing determination.

Many measures have already been taken. Our legislative arsenal has been strengthened considerably. But because this is the summer season, we must further increase our level of protection.

So I’ve decided, at the Prime Minister’s proposal and together with the ministers concerned – the Defence and Interior Ministers – firstly that we’ll maintain Operation Sentinelle at a high level, which enables us to mobilize 10,000 soldiers, in addition to gendarmes and police.

I’ve also decided to call in operational reserves – i.e. all those who have at some point served under the flag or been in the gendarmerie – to come and help relieve the pressure on the police and gendarmes. We’ll be able to deploy them wherever we need them, particularly for border control.

Finally, I have decided that the state of emergency, which was to end on 26 July, will be extended by three months. A bill will be submitted to Parliament by next week.

Nothing will make us yield in our determination to combat terrorism, and we’re going to further intensify our strikes in Syria and Iraq. We’ll continue to hit those who attack us on our own soil, in their hideouts. I announced this yesterday morning.

A meeting of the Defence Council will be held tomorrow [on 15 July]. It will examine all the measures which we’ve already taken and which I’ve just announced. It will therefore enable all the necessary personnel to be deployed on every site and in every town and city where we need protection and vigilance.

Following this Defence Council meeting, I’ll go to Nice with the Prime Minister to support the city and its elected representatives in this ordeal and to mobilize all the necessary capabilities.

France is deeply distressed by over this new tragedy. It’s horrified by what has just happened, this monstrosity of using a lorry to kill, to deliberately kill dozens of people who had simply come to celebrate 14 July.

France is in tears, it’s deeply distressed, but it’s strong and will always be stronger – I assure you of that – than the fanatics who seek to attack it today./.

Attack in Nice – Fight against terrorism/Select Defence and Security Council – Speech by M. Manuel Valls, Prime Minister

Paris, 15 July 2016

We have just held a meeting of the Select Defence and Security Council, under the chairmanship and the authority of the Head of State.

France has again been struck by a cowardly and inhuman act of terrorism. And our thoughts, at this very difficult time, are with the victims and all of the families affected by this unbearable tragedy; they are also with the city of Nice, to which I will travel shortly together with President Hollande.

Terrorism – and we have been saying this for a long time – poses a major threat to France, and will continue to do so for a long time. I have already stated that, unfortunately, we may experience such events and that there will be further innocent victims.

We are facing a war being waged on us by terrorism. The terrorists’ goal is to plant fear and panic. But France, as President Hollande reaffirmed yesterday, is a great country and a great democracy which will not allow itself to be destabilized.

As we stated a short time ago, providing support to the families and returning their loved ones’ remains, after identification, is a matter of urgency. All the state services are mobilized to help the families and provide them with medical and psychological support, at this especially difficult time.

In conjunction with the operational management of the incident, under the authority of the préfet [high-ranking civil servant representing the state] for Alpes-Maritimes and in immediate response to this attack, the following measures have, as you know, been decided on:

The interministerial crisis cell has been activated.

The Vigipirate Plan has been raised to “attack alert” level in Alpes-Maritimes department.

The investigation has been referred to the counter-terrorism section of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s office, and so I want to remind you that all information relating to the investigation will be provided by the public prosecutor.

The Interministerial Victim Support Unit has been activated.

In addition, President Hollande – as he indicated to our compatriots last night – has decided to maintain Operation Sentinelle at its highest level, and to call in the first level of operational reserves of the National Gendarmerie. The additional personnel mobilized as a result of this will allow us to maintain a heightened level of vigilance and protection over the long term. The numbers, timescale and arrangements are currently being finalized by the Directorate-General of the National Gendarmerie.

Lastly, a bill to extend the state of emergency for three more months will be presented to the Council of Ministers, after consultations with the Conseil d’Etat [supreme administrative court which also advises the government on legislation], on Tuesday, so that Parliament can examine this text on Wednesday and Thursday. Here again, we must remain mobilized.

President Hollande has declared a period of national mourning for 16, 17 and 18 July in honour of the victims. Flags will be flown at half-mast on our public buildings from today.

Following the meeting of the Select Defence and Security Council, we want to emphasize to the French people: we shall not give in. France will not succumb to the terrorist threat. We have entered a new era; France will have to live with terrorism. And we must form a united front. This is President Hollande’s message. We must stand together and be calm, collectively.

France has again been wounded, on 14 July, our National Day. We wanted to bring the French nation together. So the only dignified and responsible response on the part of France is one that will remain true to the spirit of 14 July, i.e. that of a united France that rallies around its values. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder. That’s the only thing that matters now.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will obviously have the opportunity throughout the day to provide a number of further details. As you know the Interior and Health Ministers have already arrived in Nice.

See you later; thank you./.

Attack in Nice – Fight against terrorism – Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson

Paris, 15 July 2016

The Prime Minister activated the Interministerial Victim Support Unit (CIAV) yesterday evening at the premises of the Quai d’Orsay’s crisis and support centre.

More than 80 people are mobilized within the CIAV, which brings together officials from the Ministries of Justice, the Interior (forensic identification and sécurité civile [emergency services]), Health and Foreign Affairs, representatives of the public prosecutor’s office, health professionals (Red Cross and emergency medico-psychological unit) as well as members of victim support associations (INAVEM [National Institute for Victim Support and Mediation] and FENVAC [National Federation for the Victims of Disasters]).

The CIAV is liaising with the families of all of the victims and those who were injured. A special telephone number has been set up for their loved ones: 01 43 17 56 46 (00 33 1 43 17 56 46 from abroad). Nearly 7,500 calls have already been taken. The CIAV is also liaising with foreign embassies in France.

CIAV officials are on hand at the reception centre for victims’ families set up in Nice and are working with the services of the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, who was taking part in the 11th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit, cut short his visit in order to return to Paris./.

Published on 22/07/2016

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