President Hollande and President Obama Meet at G8 Summit
Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 18, 2013
Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
President Obama and I wanted, at the end of this G8 Summit, to exchange views on our bilateral relations – that wouldn’t have taken long, they are excellent – and on the major issues, and I will shed some more light on the issues that President Obama addressed.
First, with respect to Afghanistan. Last year in Chicago I announced the withdrawal of French combat troops by the end of last year. That was achieved, but at the same time France remains present in Afghanistan, at the airport, at the hospital and with our allies, in order to prepare for the future. I welcome the fact that discussions could be initiated with President Karzai and the groups that want to participate in Afghanistan’s future. I myself will go to Qatar on Saturday and we will have to encourage this process. I reaffirm that France, for several months now, if not years, has been engaged in this dialogue in order to facilitate reconciliation and ensure that there can be a democratic and peaceful future in Afghanistan.
We then discussed Syria, regarding which there is considerable convergence between our approaches. At the G8 it was vital to make arrangements for the meeting in Geneva and make Assad’s regime face up to its responsibilities. There can be no future while it is massacring its people. We must therefore prepare for this transition.
With respect to West Africa, I thanked President Obama for the support we received during the operation. The Africans and France earned a double victory. A military victory against the terrorists, but also a political victory. I informed President Obama today that an agreement had been reached between the Malian government and the groups, which at one time opposed it for organizing elections throughout the Malian territory, including in Kidal, and in the presence of the Malian civilian and military authorities. Which will help to ensure that the transition and dialogue takes place.
We are mobilized to fight against terrorism, but we also laid down conditions for development, without which there can be no future or peace.
Lastly, we discussed economic issues. It was important at this summit to focus on growth, the coordination of economic policies, budgetary policies that must be appropriate and in Europe that’s what I’m promoting and in the United States, that’s what President Obama is doing. That means ensuring that we put our public accounts in order and that we do it promptly according to the right timetable and while lending support to businesses so that they can ensure growth and to households so that they can start spending.
Lastly, we discussed what’s at stake at the climate conference scheduled to take place in 2015 and we set ourselves the goal of ensuring that this conference is a success.
Lastly, I would like to confirm to President Obama that France is a beautiful country and that we would be delighted to welcome him there any time he wishes.