November 11, 2019
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President Obama and President Hollande Hold a Joint Press Conference

President Obama:
President Hollande, it has been an honor to
welcome you to the White House before, in
happier times than this. But as Americans, we stand
by our friends — in good times and in bad
— no matter what. So on behalf of the
American people, I want to once again express
our deepest condolences to you and all of the people
of France for the heinous attacks that took
place in Paris. We’re here today to declare
that the United States and France stand united —
in total solidarity — to deliver justice to these
terrorists and those who sent them, and to
defend our nations. In that spirit, with
heavy but strong hearts, I welcome you today. François, with
your understanding, my statement today will be
a little longer than usual. I’ve been traveling, and
this is an important moment for our nations
and for the world. This barbaric terrorist
group — ISIL, or Daesh — and its
murderous ideology pose a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed. And we must do it together. This is the unity of purpose
that brings us here today. On your visit
here last year, you said that the
French love America. We love the French. Sometimes we Americans
are too shy to say so, but we’re not
feeling shy today. We Americans love France
because we dedicate ourselves to the same ideals
— that all people deserve life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. France is our oldest ally. You helped us win
our independence. We helped liberate
France from fascism. We owe our freedom
to each other. We love France for your
spirit and your culture, your joie de vivre. Since the attacks, Americans
have recalled their own visits to Paris —
visiting the Eiffel Tower, or walking along the Seine. We know these places. They’re part of
our memories, woven into the fabric of
our lives and our culture. I am very grateful to
the French people for the hospitality they’ve
always shown me, and when they welcomed
Michelle and our daughters on their first visit
to the City of Lights. By my bed, in the residence,
is a picture of me and Michelle in Luxembourg
Gardens, kissing. Those are the memories
we have of Paris. As early on, I
had no gray hair. So when tragedy struck that
evening, our hearts broke, too. In that stadium
and concert hall, in those restaurants and
cafés, we see our own. In the faces of the French
people, we see ourselves. And that’s why so many
Americans have embraced the blue, white and red. It’s why Americans,
at candlelight vigils, have joined together to
sing La Marseillaise. We have never forgotten how
the French people stood with us after 9/11. And today, we stand with you — nous sommes tous Français. It’s been noted that the
terrorists did not direct their attacks against
the French government or military. Rather, they focused their
violence on the very spirit of France — and
by extension, on all liberal democracies. This was an attack on our
free and open societies — where people come together
to celebrate and sing and compete. In targeting venues where
people come together from around the world — killing
citizens of nearly 20 countries, including America
— this was an attack on the very idea that people
of different races and religions and backgrounds
can live together in peace. In short, this was not only
a strike against one of the world’s great cities, it was
an attack against the world itself. It’s the same madness that
has slaughtered the innocent from Nigeria to the Sinai,
from Lebanon to Iraq. It is a scourge that
threatens all of us. And that’s why, for
more than a year, the United States, France,
and our coalition of some 65 nations have been united in
one mission — to destroy these ISIL terrorists and
defeat their vile ideology. Today, President Hollande
and I reviewed our coalition’s progress. More than 8,000 airstrikes,
combined with local partners on the ground, have pushed
ISIL back from territory in both Iraq and Syria. Today, President Hollande
and I agreed that our nations must do
even more together. U.S. assistance has supported
recent French strikes in Syria, and we’re going
to keep stepping up that coordination. And as we saw with
the attack in Mali, the terrorist threat
goes beyond ISIL. This week, I’ll sign
legislation to sustain our support — including airlift
and intelligence — to allies like France, as we
work together to root out terrorist networks
in Africa. We’ll do even more to
prevent attacks at home. Building on our recent
intelligence agreement, the United States will
continue to quickly share threat information
with France. And in the wake of Paris,
and with the threats in Belgium, there’s also a
growing recognition among European nations that they
need to ramp up additional efforts to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. As part of that, I’m calling
on the European Union to finally implement the
agreement that’s been long in the works that would
require airlines to share passenger information, so we
can do more to stop foreign terrorist fighters from
entering our countries undetected. And I’m prepared to send
teams of our experts to work on this with our European
partners to make sure we’re redoubling our
efforts together. Regarding the broader
crisis in Syria, President Hollande and I
agree that Russia’s strikes against the moderate
opposition only bolster the Assad regime, whose
brutality has helped to fuel the rise of ISIL. We agree that Russia could
play a more constructive role if it were to shift
the focus of its strikes to defeating ISIL. And likewise, President
Hollande and I agree that the best way to bring peace
to Syria is through the principles
reaffirmed in Vienna, which require active Russian
support for a ceasefire and a political transition
away from Assad to a democratically elected
government that can unite the Syrian people
against terrorism. Finally, François and I
understand that one of our greatest weapons in the
fight against ISIL is the strength and resilience
of our people. And, here, I want to speak
directly to the American people. What happened in Paris
is truly horrific. I understand that people
worry that something similar could happen here. I want you to know that
we will continue to do everything in our power
to defend our nation. Since 9/11, we’ve taken
extraordinary measures to strengthen our
homeland security. Our counterterrorism,
homeland security, and law enforcement
professionals — federal, state and local —
they are tireless. They have prevented attacks
and they have saved lives. They are working every hour,
every day for our security. They did so before
Paris, they do so now, and they will not stop. They’re the best
in the world. But it’s not just our
security professionals who will defeat ISIL and
other terrorist groups. As Americans, we all have
a role to play in how we respond to threats. Groups like ISIL
cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so they try
to terrorize us at home — against soft targets,
against civilians, against innocent people. Even as we’re vigilant, we
cannot, and we will not, succumb to fear. Nor can we allow fear to
divide us — for that’s how terrorists win. We cannot give them the
victory of changing how we go about living our lives. The good news is
Americans are resilient. We mourned the lives
lost at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon,
at Chattanooga. But we did not waver. Our communities
have come together. We’ve gone to ballgames
and we’ve gone to concerts, and we’ve gone shopping. And men and women who
want to serve our country continue to go to military
recruiting offices. We’re vigilant, we
take precautions, but we go about
our business. To those who
want to harm us, our actions have shown that
we have too much resolve and too much character. Americans will
not be terrorized. I say all this because
another part of being vigilant, another part of
defeating terrorists like ISIL, is upholding the
rights and freedoms that define our two
great republics. That includes
freedom of religion. That includes equality
before the law. There have been times in our
history, in moments of fear, when we have failed to
uphold our highest ideals, and it has been to
our lasting regret. We must uphold
our ideals now. Each of us, all of us,
must show that America is strengthened by people
of every faith and every background. Related to this, I want to
note that under President Hollande, France
plans to welcome 30,000 additional Syrian refugees over the next two years. Here in the United States,
refugees coming to America go through up to two years
of intense security checks, including biometric
screening. Nobody who sets foot in
America goes through more screening than refugees. And we’re prepared to share
these tools with France and our European partners. As François has said, our
humanitarian duty to help desperate refugees and our
duty to our security — those duties go
hand in hand. On the Statue of Liberty,
a gift from the people of France, there are words we
know so well: Give me your tired, your poor, your
huddled masses yearning to be free. That’s the spirit that
makes us American. That’s the spirit that
binds us to France. That’s the spirit
we need today. In closing, I want to salute
the people of Paris for showing the world how to
stay strong in the face of terrorism. Even as they grieve,
Parisians have begun returning to their
cafés, riding the metro, and going to stadiums to
cheer for their teams. Crowds gather in the
Place de la République, including a mother who
brought her children — she said, “to let them see that
we should not be afraid.” As one Parisian said, “Paris
will always be Paris.” And next week, I will be
joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference. What a powerful rebuke to
the terrorists it will be when the world stands as one
and shows that we will not be deterred from building
a better future for our children. So, President Hollande, my
fellow Americans — let’s remember we’ve faced greater
threats to our way of life before. Fascism. Communism. A first world war. A second. A long Cold War. Each and every
time, we prevailed. We have prevailed because
our way of life is stronger. Because we stay united. Because even as we are
relentless in the face of evil, we draw on what’s
best in ourselves and in the character of our countries. It will be no
different this time. Make no mistake,
we will win, and groups like
ISIL will lose. And standing with
allies like France, we will continue to show the
world the best of American leadership. Vive la France. And God bless the United
States of America. Mr. President. President Hollande: (as
interpreted) Ladies and gentlemen, please allow
me, first and foremost, to thank the President
of the United States, Barack Obama, for the
solidarity he has shown immediately as we found out
about the terror attacks. He was the first
one to call me. It was very late in France,
2:00 a.m., when Barack called — the President
of the United States. I would like to express his
solidarity towards France, his emotion, his compassion
against the horror. And on that night, he meant
to tell me that the United States stood by France,
that the help that could be provided to France
would have no limits, and that we had a
duty, a joint duty, to pull our forces together
and fight terrorism. I do not forget, either,
all of the messages that the American people sent to the
French people over the past few days — the
French colors, the French flags all
around in many gatherings; these candles in places that
represent France here in the United States;
La Marseillaise, our National Anthem, sung
in official ceremonies. It is true that in 9/11,
we all felt Americans. But after the
13th of November, Americans felt French. Our two peoples,
together, merged as one, sharing the same emotion and
also the same willingness to fight for freedom, to
stand for our values. We are not two
similar peoples. We each have
our own history. We have our own culture,
our own background. But we share the same trust,
the same faith in freedom. It is France that came
under attack on the 13th of November. France, for what it is —
a country which we consider unique in the world because
France speaks to the world — France came under attack
for what it represents, for what it stands
for, for its culture, our way of living, as
well as our values, our principles. But by targeting
France, the terrorists, the cowardly murderers,
we’re targeting the world in these restaurants,
in these cafés, as well as the Bataclan,
that concert venue. They were men and women,
most of them young, who came from 20
countries, at least. And they shared the
same passion for life. And that’s the reason
why they were murdered. My thoughts are with the
friends and family of a young American student,
Nohemi Gonzalez, who came as well to share a
moment of culture and joy. My thoughts also go to
this American band that was playing at the Bataclan. Our cultures on that
occasion were together to bring the same enthusiasm,
and they were hit by terrorists. We are facing a terror group
which organizes itself on territory. They have some
substantial resources. They’re thriving on
smuggling of oil, drug, human beings. And since the
beginning of the year, they hit many countries —
Denmark, Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt,
as well as Russia, by taking down
a Russian plane. So, together with
President Obama, today we wanted on the
occasion of that meeting, first of all, to share our
determination — relentless determination — to fight
terrorism everywhere and anywhere. We also meant to tell the
world that we will not allow those who want to
destroy what we’ve built, we will not allow them to do
it — to destroy what we’ve built, generation
after generation. They will not be able
to damage the world. And against Daesh, we
need a joint response, an implacable
joint response. France and the United States
stand together to bring that joint response. Militarily, it is about
destroying Daesh no matter where they are. It is about taking
out their financing, hunting down their leaders,
dismantling their networks, and taking back the land
they currently control. We, therefore, decided,
President Obama and myself, to scale up our strikes
both in Syria and in Iraq, to broaden our scope,
to strengthen our intelligence-sharing
regarding the targets we must aim at. The priority is to take back
key locations in the hands of Daesh in Syria. It is also a matter of
urgency to close the border between Turkey and Syria,
and prevent terrorists from crossing the border and
coming to Europe or other places and undertake
such terrible attacks. We also took the decision
to work together with our partners of the
coalition in Iraq, and to support all of those
who are fighting Daesh on the ground. The aim is to make sure
that these forces can be supported, helped by all
countries that are willing to act militarily
to destroy Daesh. The resolution of the
Security Council that was voted unanimously Friday,
after being introduced by France and supported
by the United States, this resolution provides us
with the clear basis to act. This is what France
is currently doing. Our aircraft carrier,
the Charles de Gaulle, is currently in the
east of Mediterranean, and allows us to
enjoy more capability. Yesterday, for the sixth
time after the terror attacks in Paris,
we struck Raqqa. In addition, we’ve been
providing some assistance to Iraqi fighters in the region
of Ramadi and in Mosul, within the framework
of the coalition. Now, diplomatically, both
President Obama and myself have strengthened our
cooperation as early as the night after the attacks. And I would like to commend
everything that is being done so that intelligence
and information available can be used to tackle
terrorists and to follow their movements, so that we
prevent them from doing what they want to. Because beyond
Syria and Iraq, what they want is somehow
to spread fear everywhere so that we doubt, so that we
make decisions which are exactly contrary to what we
want in terms of freedom and rights. But we will not give in. That being said, we have
to defend ourselves and use intelligence. Diplomatically, we’re
working on a credible political transition in
Syria within the framework of the Vienna process. And I commend the work done
by ministers Fabius and Kerry to agree a timeline
that will enable a ceasefire, of course,
as quickly as possible, and to open up to a process
that will lead to Bashar al-Assad’s departure. Because we cannot imagine
the Syrians getting together, gathering
around the leader who is responsible for some
— the most of 300,000 dead in a few years. So a government of
unity is required, but that must lead
to Assad’s departure. The Syrian crisis is
directly relevant to Europe, first of all, given
the terrorist threat, but also because there are
millions of refugees fleeing the regime’s bombs
and Daesh atrocities. If we were to abandon them,
we would betray what we are. This is the reason why I
reject identifying migration and terrorism. At the same time, we
must control the borders. Today, people are risking
their lives to flee when they travel at sea
between Turkey and Greece. Turkey, therefore,
plays an important role, and it is together with
Turkey that we must find solutions so that the
refugees can stay close to their country of origin. And we need to make sure
that the required controls, the checks are
implemented at the border. On Thursday, I will be
traveling to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin. And I will tell him that
France can work together with Russia if Russia
concentrates its military action on Daesh,
against ISIL, and if Russia fully commits
to the political solution in Syria. This is what we want to do
— we want to gather all countries, all those who
are willing to find and to implement a political
solution in Syria. We do not want to
exclude anyone, but we want to make sure
that this political solution can eradicate terrorism. Lastly, next
week — that is, on Monday — we will
be hosting, in Paris, the climate conference. I certainly could not
imagine that this conference would be taking place
against such a background. At the same time, I think
there cannot be any better symbol or response but to
hold the conference in Paris where the attacks
took place, where we took the right
measures in terms of security protections as well
as in defending our values. There is no greater symbol
than holding this conference on climate in Paris with
some 150 heads of state and government. Never before did France
host so many leaders of the international community. They’re coming to sort
out the climate challenge, and again, to work and to
find the right agreement so that we can limit greenhouse
gases emissions and make sure that our children
and our grandchildren live better, or simply can live. But they are also coming
to express their support to freedom, to the fight
against extremism, that radical Islam which
is becoming dangerous. Yes, all of them are coming
no matter their background, no matter their religion,
their convictions, to express the
same principle, the same values with
the same word — life. Yes, simply life. And this is the reason
why I am very pleased that President Obama will
allow us to succeed. I commend his recent
statements over the past few weeks and months, but I also
commend the commitments he’s made in the name of
the United States, as well as in the
name of the world. It was very important that
one of the most powerful countries in the world,
if not the most powerful, and therefore with the
highest level of emissions, could also be there to face
the future like we’ve been facing history. What we will be doing early
next week in Paris means that we can
continue to live, as well as protect our lives
and that of all children. France and the
United States, given their history and
the values — the founding values of both our
nations, given our spirits, we both have that duty
to act as a matter of — urgently against terrorism
and against Daesh, and at the same time, to
prepare for the future. Against that background,
even though it is a very dire one, I’m pleased to be
with Barack Obama to send across that message
to the entire world. Thank you. President Obama: We’ve got
time for a few questions. I’m going to start with
Roberta Rampton of Reuters. The Press: Thank you. This is a question
for both of you. First, what is your reaction
to Turkey shooting down a Russian plane today? And does this draw NATO into
a confrontation with Russia? How do you keep this from
spiraling out of control? And, President Obama, what
does this incident mean for future prospects of military
coordination — more military coordination
with Russia? And, President Hollande,
ahead of your trip to Moscow on Thursday, what are
the prospects for closer military coordination
with Russia, given what happened today? President Obama:
Well, first of all, we’re still getting the
details of what happened. And I expect to be
in communications, potentially directly, with
President Erdogan sometime over the next several days. Turkey, like every country,
has a right to defend its territory and its airspace. I think it’s very important
right now for us to make sure that both the Russians
and the Turks are talking to each other to find out
exactly what happened, and take measures to
discourage any kind of escalation. I do think that this points
to a ongoing problem with the Russian operations in
the sense that they are operating very close
to a Turkish border, and they are going after a
moderate opposition that are supported by not only
Turkey but a wide range of countries. And if Russia is directing
its energies towards Daesh and ISIL, some of
those conflicts, or potentials for
mistakes or escalation, are less likely to occur. I also think this
underscores the importance of us making sure that we
move this political track forward as quickly
as possible. Like President Hollande, our
view from the start has been that Russia is welcome to
be part of this broad-based coalition that we’ve set up. There’s never been a point
in time in which we said that we don’t want Russia
or other countries that may have differences with us on
a whole host of other things to avoid working
with us against ISIL. The challenge has been
Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than
focusing on ISIL. I had a conversation with
President Putin in Turkey, and I indicated to him at
the time that to the extent that they make that
strategic shift — focus on the Vienna process, where
they have been constructive, to try to bring all
the parties together; try to execute a political
transition that all parties would agree to; and refocus
attention on going after ISIL — then there’s
enormous capacity for us to cooperate. Until that happens,
it’s very difficult. It’s difficult because if
their priority is attacking the moderate opposition that
might be future members of an inclusive
Syrian government, Russia is not going to get
the support of us or a range of other members
of the coalition. But I do think that there
is the possibility of cooperation. The sooner we agree to
this political process, the less likely that you
have the kinds of events that took place,
apparently, today. President Hollande: (as
interpreted) The event that took place is a serious one,
and we can only regret it. Turkey is currently
providing all of the information to NATO so that
we can find out what truly happened and whether
Turkey’s airspace indeed was entered into. But we must prevent
an escalation; that would be
extremely damageable. The only purpose is to fight
against terrorism and Daesh. This is what we must do, all
of us — we, Turkey, Russia. And what just took
place, like Barack said, means that we must find
a solution to the Syrian crisis, because we can see
what the risks are otherwise — the risks of escalation. I, therefore, will be
traveling to Russia this week because we have this resolution of the Security Council and it does show
that we must take action against Daesh,
against terrorism. That resolution has
been voted unanimously. In a way, that was the
broadest possible coalition. Then, I will ask
President Putin, as I’ve done before and what
I told the Russians a number of times already, that the
strikes must be against Daesh, against terrorism,
and those who precisely are threatening us. They are threatening
the Russians, like ourselves in Europe,
like France that was targeted over the
past few days. We must, therefore,
coordinate ourselves, cooperate, but
on that basis, and make sure that we’re
all acting against Daesh. And that will be part of
the political process, one that must lead
to the solution. And we all know what the
parameters of the solution are or are not. We know that there’s
a deadlock today. Lastly, I mentioned the
Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, which is in the
east of the Mediterranean now. As a matter of fact, there
are also some Russian forces. And I, therefore, agreed
with President Putin that we must share our intelligence
so that we can act in coordination. We must not
contradict ourselves. And it’s already the case,
and we’ll continue to do so. The Press: (as
interpreted) Mr. President, the Americans have some
Special Forces in Syria. Beyond the words and
beyond what is happening, are you going to send some
Special Forces as well to Syria? Are you considering some
ground intervention there? Mr. President, beyond the
emotion that we can feel here, beyond these
beautiful statements, for more than a year we
heard all of you saying that Assad must go, that a
political transition is necessary in Syria. Mr. President, can you
today, here, in front of us, tell us a specific date, a
deadline for Assad to go? The Press: I can translate
in English, if needed. President Obama: No, no,
I had the translation. You said “President,” and
we’ve got two Presidents here. President Hollande: (as
interpreted) I will not provide you with a date
because it must be as soon as possible. That is one of the
requirements for a solution to be found. But at the same time, allow
me to underline something. There is a new mindset now. The crisis in Syria has been
ongoing for four years — four years. There are probably
more than 300,000 dead. And this is not just
relevant to the countries of the region, which are
hosting the refugees. It is relevant to Europe and
the entire world now with that issue of refugees. And those who believe that
we could wait some more, and that, in any
case, it was far away, they now realize that we
have an influx of refugees, that the terrorists — the
risk is everywhere due to Daesh. We, therefore, must act. You also asked me what we
were going to do, what more. We will intensify
the strikes. We will have some more
specific target to make sure that Daesh resources,
their means are cut off, including their
command centers, the trucks carrying oil,
their training centers where they prepare terror attacks. We will continue and we will
intensify our strikes at the heart of the cities which
are currently in the hands of Daesh. France will not intervene
militarily on the ground. It is for the local
forces to do so. We’ve been supporting them
for a number of months. We will continue to do so. And they will do the job on
the ground after our strikes that will enable
them to do so. But France will take its
responsibilities regarding that support, which is
absolutely necessary. President Obama: Let me just
make a couple of broader comments about the
operations against ISIL. As was already indicated,
we’ve taken thousands of strikes; have taken
thousands of ISIL fighters, including top
commanders and leaders, off the battlefield. We have squeezed
their supply lines. We have empowered and
armed local groups that are pushing against them,
including, most recently, in Sinjar. We’re providing training
and assistance to the Iraqi government as they prepare
to retake places like Ramadi that had been overrun. We’ve seen some success. But the question now is,
how can we accelerate it? And in fact, even before
the tragedy in Paris, I had gathered together my
national security forces — it had been a year — to
review where we had made progress, what
worked, what did not, and had put together a plan
to accelerate and advance the pressure that we
can place on ISIL. And we intend to
execute on those plans, but we also think,
as François said, that there may be new
openness on the part of other coalition members to
help resource and provide additional assistance both
to the coalition as a whole and to local forces
on the ground. With respect to Mr. Assad,
I think we’ve got to let the Vienna process
play itself out. It is our best opportunity. And so the notion that there
would be an immediate date in advance of us getting
a broad agreement on that political process and the
details I think doesn’t make sense. As soon as we have a
framework for a political transition — potentially,
a new constitution, elections — I think it’s
in that context that we can start looking at Mr. Assad
choosing not to run and potentially seeing
a new Syria emerge. But it’s going to be hard. And we should not be
under any illusions. Syria has broken down. It began to break down
the moment that Mr. Assad started killing
indiscriminately his own people. ISIL was able to move into
Raqqa in part because of a thorough rejection on the
part of many Syrians of the Assad regime, and a
power vacuum emerged. And it is going to
be a difficult, long, methodical process to
bring back together various factions within Syria to
maintain a Syrian state and institutions, and to create
the kind of stability that allows people to start
coming back in and rebuilding their lives. But it’s possible. And the urgency that we’ve
seen even before Paris out of countries like Russia
indicate that they recognize they can’t be there too
long and ultimately winning military battle
successfully. Olivier Knox, Yahoo News. The Press: Thank
you Mr. President. (speaks French) Mr. President, could you
tell us whether the Russian plane did, in fact,
breach Turkish airspace? And given the fury of
the Russian response on economic, diplomatic,
and rhetorical fronts, how concerned are you
that there might also be a military component,
if not in Turkey, then perhaps with expanded
action against coalition interests inside Syria? (as interpreted)
And, Mr. President, regarding the measures
announced today when it comes to strengthening the
cooperation on military intelligence and all this,
had they been taken a month or weeks ago, do you think
they would have prevented the terror attacks that
took place in Paris, or will enable us to prevent
some further terror attacks? President Obama: We don’t
have all the information yet, so I don’t want to
comment on the specifics. We will be gathering
all that information. We expect the Turks to
provide information. I’m sure the Russians will
have some information. And we’ll be able to confirm
what happened in part through our own intelligence
and our own tracking of that border area. As François indicated, my
top priority is going to be to ensure that this
does not escalate. And hopefully, this is a
moment in which all parties can step back and make a
determination as to how their interests
are best served. The Russians had several
hundred people of their own killed by ISIL. And the flow of foreign
fighters out of Russian areas into Syria
poses an enormous, long-term threat to
Russian territory. So there is a potential
convergence of interests between the various parties. It requires us working with
them to make the kind of strategic shift that’s
necessary and that, frankly, I’ve talked to Putin
about for five years now. It requires a recognition
that the existing structure cannot gain the legitimacy
to stop the war, and until you stop the
war, you’re going to have a vacuum in which these kinds
of terrorist organizations can operate more
effectively. Let me say one last thing,
because I’ve tracked the question that you posed to
President Hollande about what could or could not
have been prevented. All of our intelligence
personnel here in the United States, across the
Atlantic, work tirelessly, as I said earlier, to
disrupt plots and prevent terrorists attacks. The vast majority of their
successes in disrupting plots are not advertised. You never hear about them. But were it not for
the dedication of those intelligence and law
enforcement and military professionals, this would be
a much more dangerous world. So you have to be careful
about speculating about “what if” and “could have”
and “would have” in a situation like this
— because it’s hard. You have eight individuals
with light weapons; that’s a hard
thing to track. What is true, though, is
that we can do a better job of coordinating
between countries. And I’ve been talking to our
European partners for quite some time now about the need
for better intelligence, sharing passenger
name records, working to ensure that when
people enter into Europe — particularly now — that the
information across various borders is shared
on a timely basis, and you have biometric
information and other technologies that can
make it more accurate. It doesn’t mean it’s always
going to be 100 percent foolproof, but we can do
better on those fronts. And one of the challenges
has been, frankly, in the past several years,
that you have different legal traditions, concerns
about privacy and civil liberties, all of which
are entirely legitimate. I don’t think those
can be ignored now, because that’s part of the
— those are part of the values that make us who
we are and that we have to adhere to. But I do think that this is
a reminder that this is a dangerous world. And rooting out small bands
of terrorist groups who maintain good operational
security and are using modern technologies in ways
that are hard to track, that that’s a tough job. And we’re all going to have
to pool our resources much more effectively together
than we have in the past. And I think when François
goes back to Europe, his leadership, the
leadership of other presidents and prime
ministers around this issue is going to be as important
as anything that we do. President Hollande: (as
interpreted) Allow me to go back to what Daesh truly is. It is somehow
an organization, a terrorist group occupying
a territory in Iraq and Syria, killing. And they want to install
rules that dishonor humanity. This is what Daesh
is doing there. And this is what they
are trying to do in other countries, everywhere
(inaudible) stands. And then we have to deal
with the number of networks more or less organized in a
number of countries that are being used to lead
terror attacks, like was the case
precisely in Paris. We know that this dreadful
plan was prepared in Syria, and then organized in
a number of countries. And there are also some
accomplices in France, given that some of the
terrorists are French, those who committed
these acts of war. So if we want to
tackle terrorism, we must act not only to
destroy Daesh where they are — in Syria, in Iraq — but
we must also dismantle and destroy these networks. How can we proceed? Well, first of
all, militarily, by intensifying our strikes,
by taking back these territories, thanks to the
local forces on the ground, which we can support by
finding a political solution in Syria, by making sure
that the territorial integrity of
Iraq is restored. This is what we can do. Then, when it comes to
protection measures to protect our territory
and our people, this is what I announced in
France and this is what we have to do to eradicate
these networks and all of these accomplices and
those who are present. Some of them just arrived;
others have been there for a long time, and they are not
necessarily identified as a threat. It is, therefore, necessary
that we strengthen yet further our cooperation
in terms of intelligence. The Paris attacks
generated a lot of emotion. But that’s not enough —
compassion, solidarity. And I take note of
it, but we must act. And for a number
of days now, I’ve been trying to convince
— convincing all the countries that
can act to do so. I met with David
Cameron yesterday. He announced that he would
take a number of measures to his parliament. That is important. Today I’m here with Barack
so that we can act with greater intensity and
coherence, as well. Tomorrow I will be hosting
German Chancellor Angela Merkel so that
European countries, including Germany,
can face up to their responsibilities, including
in terms of military intelligence and police
cooperation, and maybe more. I will also
travel to Moscow, so that Russia acts — can
take action against Daesh, and only against Daesh. And then I will
receive Matteo Renzi, the head of the
Italian government. I will also have an
opportunity to talk to all of the European leaders,
given that a European Council, together
with Turkey, will be held on Sunday. So it is all of that that
must get together and enable us to implement
coordination, cooperation in our actions
so that we can act on the source, Daesh, and
networks that it can use. It is that strength that
will enable us to succeed. The Press: (as interpreted)
A question from BFMTV. Both of you today have
talked about coordination, cooperation against Daesh. Does it mean that this
single coalition — which you mentioned last week,
President Hollande — is gone? That it is inconceivable to
have the Russians and the Americans to work together
under this single command? And then Bashar al-Assad,
you said you could not put a date on his departure. Does it mean that his
departure is not a preamble or prerequisite for
the future of Syria? President Hollande: (as
interpreted) Regarding the coalition of the
international community, I believe that the
resolution approved by all at the Security Council
enabled us to say that now the entire world is
committed to fighting against Daesh. Then — and this is what I
will check when I travel to Moscow — we need one single
goal: that is to tackle terrorism and fight
against Daesh militarily. And I believe that we
can have some further cooperation and coordination
militarily to do more. At the same time, we have
to be clear when it comes to the political solution, the
one that will enable us to find an outcome for Syria. And in this respect,
like we’ve said, and we can repeat it, Bashar
al-Assad cannot be the future of Syria. In Vienna, we are already
working with all of the countries — even though
they do not necessarily, they do not have the same
stance — Turkey, Iran, Gulf countries, the
United States, France, and of course all of those
who are meant to find a solution. But we must work
on that transition, a transition where Bashar
al-Assad plays no role. Because he’s
been the problem, so he cannot be
the solution. President Obama: We’ve got
a coalition of 65 countries who have been active in
pushing back against ISIL for quite some time. France has been a central
part of that coalition, as have European
countries, Arab countries. Countries as far-flung as
Australia and countries in Southeast Asia are
part of that coalition. Russia right now is
a coalition of two, Iran and Russia,
supporting Assad. Given Russia’s military
capabilities and given the influence they have
on the Assad regime, them cooperating would
be enormously helpful in bringing about a resolution
of the civil war in Syria, and allow us all to refocus
our attention on ISIL. But I think it’s important
to remember that you’ve got a global coalition
organized. Russia is the outlier. We hope that they refocus
their attention on what is the most substantial threat,
and that they serve as a constructive partner. And if and when they do, it
will make it easier for us to go after ISIL and Daesh. Although I think it’s also
important to recognize that the kinds of airstrikes that
they’re carrying out — just like the kinds of airstrikes
that we’re carrying out — in and of themselves
are not sufficient. And the work that we do
to bolster local fighting forces, the cutting off of
supply lines, financing, oil, reducing the flow
of foreign fighters, the intelligence work that
needs to be done — all of that is something that we
are doing now and that they can supplement. But that’s going to be a
process that involves hard, methodical work. It’s not going to be
something that happens just because suddenly we take
a few more airstrikes. And that’s the kind of hard
work that I know France is prepared to do, the United
States is prepared to do, and perhaps, in the future,
Russia will be, as well. Thank you very
much, everybody.

Robin Kshlerin