President meets Mr Putin to discuss action against Daesh
Fight against terrorism/Russia/Daesh/Syria/Ukraine/Turkey – Statements made by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, during his joint press conference with his Russian counterpart (excerpts)
Moscow, 26 November 2015
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wanted to have a meeting with President Putin in the framework of the diplomatic, political initiative I took the day after the terrible attacks which struck Paris.
I want to begin by thanking President Putin and the Russian people for the friendship, sympathy and solidarity shown to the bereaved and also to the French people.
For my part, I reiterated our support to President Putin following the attack of which Russia was victim, too, with the plane brought down midair over Egypt, killing more than 224 people.
So we’re all affected by terrorism. Terrorism can strike everywhere, so we must take action and this is why we’re meeting – to take action.
Syria/Daesh/broad coalition/French action
Last week, the Security Council unanimously passed a resolution so that the world’s states can take the necessary measures to coordinate their action with a view to ending terrorist acts, particularly those committed by Daesh [so-called ISIL]. We are part of this process and in fact it’s the first concrete element in the broad coalition France would like to see formed, a coalition of the whole world against terrorism.
This consensus is necessary but isn’t enough. We must shoulder our responsibilities as well. France is doing this by hitting Daesh’s operational centres and training areas and bombing oil sites run by the terrorist group, which finances itself through oil smuggling, as we know.
France has stepped up its action with the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier being close by, and we’re going to lend increased support to the groups which, on the ground in Syria, are fighting on the front line to liberate the areas occupied by Daesh.
Eradicating Daesh also means – and President Putin and I agree on this – tackling the root of the evil. Since 2011, the chaos reigning in Syria has killed nearly 300,000 people and resulted in millions of refugees. So we want the Vienna discussions to open up a political solution. There are conditions for achieving an outcome and so I think we’ve got to adhere to the following principles if we want to ensure a political transition: the executive powers must be entrusted to an independent unity government for the duration of the transition; this transition must lead to a constitution and an election which includes all communities and members of the diaspora.
As far as France is concerned, Bashar clearly has no place in Syria’s future. But I firmly believe that Russia can play a big role in the process I’ve just described. I told President Putin that France wished to work with Russia with a clear, simple objective: to combat Daesh and the terrorist groups, and them alone.
That’s why our meeting was useful. We – President Putin and I – agreed on three essential points: firstly, we’re going to increase information and intelligence exchanges of all kinds, particularly between our forces. Strikes against Daesh will be stepped up and will be subject to coordination in order to increase their effectiveness, particularly as regards oil transportation. Thirdly – and President Putin has just stressed this – the forces fighting Daesh and terrorist groups must not be targeted by our actions: we must go and strike terrorist groups and Daesh.
I also want to emphasize that Europe is also playing an active role in this fight against terrorism. I asked the defence ministers of all the European countries to take measures by virtue of the treaties, and both the United Kingdom – through David Cameron when he came to Paris – and Angela Merkel again today have just taken or announced important decisions.
I also talked to President Putin about another subject: the crisis that is persisting in eastern Ukraine. We regularly talk about that crisis, incidentally, working in the framework of the Normandy format. The last time we met on the subject was in Paris with Chancellor Merkel and President Poroshenko.
Let me add that, at that Paris meeting, President Putin and I had already discussed the Syria issue and called for coordination. Today it’s been strengthened. The priority we’re giving to action against terrorism, particularly in Syria, in no way changes France’s determination to find a solution involving a political settlement in eastern Ukraine, and there too we have a simple framework, a transparent goal: we must fully implement the measures that are in the Minsk agreement.
That’s why I wanted to come here, to Moscow, to meet President Putin. On Monday I’ll be hosting him for the Climate Conference, which is also a major challenge for the planet, but the urgency and necessity of combating terrorism required me to be present here in Moscow. (…)./.