- Marine nationale
On Thursday, French President Francois Hollande declared that the US-led coalition against ISIS would intensify air strikes on ISIS targets.
“The pace of the interventions will be accelerated and France will play its role in this,” Hollande said in a speech to ambassadors, the AFP reports.
On Wednesday, France’s Defense Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, co-hosted a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter where seven nations renewed their pledge to continue fighting ISIS and explore new ways to “degrade and destroy” the terror group.
Specifically, Le Drian mentioned that the coalition would be targeting ISIS’ de facto capitals of Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul in Iraq, eventually planning to reclaim the territory.
“They also decided to reinforce support to Arab and Kurdish forces fighting Daesh on the ground,” Hollande said of the meeting hosted by Le Drian and Carter, using the derogatory, alternative name for ISIS.
But more than the events of the meeting on Wednesday, Hollande looked to discuss the upcoming peace talks in Geneva, saying that 2016 must be a “year of transition” for Syria.
US Secretary of State John Kerry maintains that the peace talks will take place as scheduled next week, despite the fact that a spokesperson for Syria’s moderate opposition has been hard to find.
The talks will bring together Western heads of state, as well as officials from Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey. A touchy subject among them will be Syria’s future, and whether the brutal dictator Assad will be allowed to maintain power. “The key question of who will govern Syria should not be avoided,” Hollande said.
- Ammar Abdallah/Reuters
Next Monday, Iranian President Rouhani will visit Paris for the first time in 17 years. Hollande also announced visits to Egypt, Jordan and Oman, without giving a date.
“We must do everything to work together for stability in the region,” said Hollande.