French Minister Praises Cooperation in ISIL Fight
French Minister Praises
Cooperation in ISIL Fight
By Amaani Lyle, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – October 2, 2014 – France’s Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian
praised the bilateral defense relationship with his U.S. counterpart Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel during a joint news conference today.
Le Drian noted the dire situation in the Sahel, the
importance of securing porous borders and the imperative for the international
community to acknowledge what is at stake, particularly regarding Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant.
“In the heart of Africa, from Mauritania to Libya, terrorist
groups of the jihadist type are a threat [to] security of the Liberian state and
[to] Europe,” Le Drian said.
As such, the cooperation among Africans, Americans and French
people is a critical factor in maintaining pressure on persistent groups such as
al-Qaida, the French minister explained.
“We have set up a wider system, a wider positioning since
August, called ‘Operation Barkhane’ around five African countries that allows
France to contain and prevent terrorist attempts,” Le Drian said, adding that
the exchange of intelligence, financial support and shouldering of different
capacities will continue alongside the United States.
He also mentioned France’s concerns about burgeoning
terrorist networks in Libya.
“Jihadist groups are getting better in zones that are not
organized and they pursue all kinds of illicit, illegal traffics. And we hope
the international community is going to face this problem soon …,” Le Drian said.
“My concern and the concern of France is the risk of … a network between all
these different terrorist groups that are acting all over the area, from Nigeria
to the Middle East.”
The French minister said France is facing its
responsibilities in Iraq and Syria in what he described as the “indispensible
fight” against ISIL.
“France is an active partner in the international coalition.
Our armed forces are busy [in] the theater of operation, both to support Iraq
and the Kurds against … ISIL,” he said. “… Since Sept. 15, the French air force
has been carrying out strikes in the framework of the coalition to support Iraqi
forces and Kurdish forces.”
Le Drian also noted French President François Hollande opted
yesterday to strengthen the country’s contribution in the region by sending
additional air, naval and intelligence assets.
“In this anti-terrorist struggle, we must together think
about the long term,” Le Drian said.
(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDODNews)
Special Report: Targeted Operations Against ISIL Terrorists in Iraq