Skip to main content
Ministers Ayrault and Le Drian in Washington, D.C.

Ministers Ayrault and Le Drian in Washington, D.C.

Published on July 19, 2016
On July 20-21, Mr. Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister and International Development and Mr. Le Drian, Minister of Defense, took part in the meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

• Jean-Marc Ayrault’s participation in a meeting of foreign ministers.
• Joint Statement by Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Expanded Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL / Daesh.(State Department, July 21, 2016)
• Remarks by Secretary Kerry and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.(State Department, July 21, 2016)
• Jean-Marc Ayrault at the CSIS: "The future of Europe".(CSIS, July 21, 2016)
• Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Brookings Institution.(Brookings Institution, July 21, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault’s participation in a meeting of foreign ministers

M. Jean-Marc Ayrault took part in a restricted meeting of foreign and defense ministers of the international coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL], in Washington on 21 July. These regular meetings provide an opportunity to coordinate our global strategy more effectively.

Following the Nice attack, Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed the need to step up our efforts further to combat Daesh, as the French President has reiterated, particularly with a view to liberating Mosul and Raqqa.
Daesh has already lost control of many territories in Iraq and Syria, under the impact of the coalition’s actions. The Minister will also recall that France supports the national unity government in Libya, and will call for all the Libyan forces to mobilize alongside it in the fight against Daesh.

The ministers discussed how to contain Daesh’s expansion into other fragile regions and protect our territories against the threat it represents.

The meeting provided an opportunity to recall the need to support long-term political solutions in order to contain terrorism in a lasting way. This entails:

  • in Syria, a political transition in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions;
  • in Iraq, progress on national reconciliation;
  • in Libya, the unification of all forces under the authority of the national unity government.

Joint Statement by Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Expanded Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL / Daesh

State Department, July 21, 2016

The Foreign and Defense Ministers of the Counter-ISIL (Da’esh) Coalition Small Group, Military Coalition and members that have made major non-military contributions met today in Washington at the invitation of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to build momentum and accelerate the multi-front campaign to defeat Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition Small Group also refined its common approach to Da’esh’s affiliates in Libya and other regions of the world, reinforcing the shared determination to disrupt its global terrorist ambitions. This is a key moment in the campaign to put Da’esh on a lasting, irreversible path to defeat. The attacks in Nice, Baghdad, Dhaka Rukban, Istanbul, Qaa and others before them have only cemented our common resolve to destroy Da’esh and the toxic ideology that inspires its followers and sympathizers.

We welcome the steady progress Iraqi forces and moderate opposition forces in Syria have made in denying Da’esh’s access to territory, supply routes and resources. Backed by Coalition air operations, Iraqi forces have steadily advanced up the Euphrates River Valley, liberating Fallujah and Hiit, and capturing Rutbah to secure the economically important highway between Iraq and Jordan. Iraq has launched simultaneous operations up the Tigris River Valley, recapturing strategically important areas near Qaiyara, putting Da’esh on warning that its hold on Mosul will not last. Syrian Arab Coalition forces have made significant advances into and around Manbij and liberated other towns in the area. Clearing the Manbij area of Da’esh remains an essential task for the Coalition, requiring sustained assistance to the Syrian Arab Coalition and moderate Syrian opposition forces, including those in the vicinity of Mara’a. Moderate Syrian opposition forces have advanced south of Shaddadi, driving a deeper wedge between Da’esh strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul. Da’esh is also under pressure west and south of Raqqa, struggling to cope with offensives against it from all sides. The momentum necessitates even more military pressure against this strategic target.

To ensure that military victories lead to Da’esh’s irreversible defeat, we are committed to an integrated, comprehensive approach to the campaign. Training and assistance of Iraqi and Syrian partner forces are essential elements of this approach. We also seek to reduce the impact of military operations on civilians, while preparing for humanitarian challenges and laying the ground work for rapid stabilization of liberated communities. As military operations expand and intensify, we call for redoubling efforts to protect civilians in conflict zones and those who flee conflict zones, securing safe routes, and preventing any abuses during and after hostilities, in full compliance with applicable international humanitarian law and human rights principles. Popular Mobilization Forces and similar groups operating in Iraq should be under the firm control of the Iraqi government. Every effort must be made to prevent arbitrary detention and irregular screening procedures, while holding violators to account. We support Prime Minister Abadi’s decision to establish a committee to investigate reported crimes against civilians fleeing liberated areas and the government’s determination to bring those responsible to justice. In preparation for advances into Mosul, Coalition members stand ready to support an Iraqi-led planning process on military operations, humanitarian assistance, stabilization programs and post-liberation governance that involves key stakeholders from the Iraqi government, local communities and relevant international organizations.

Da’esh continues to be degraded in other significant ways. It has lost leaders at a high rate and lost large numbers of fighters. The flow of new recruits has dropped to its lowest level since the conflict began. Its resource base is shrinking, as it loses territory and as Coalition air strikes reduce its oil production and destroy tens of millions of dollars it has stored in bank vaults and other locations. Under increasing financial pressure, Da’esh has cut its fighters’ pay by half in some areas and turned to increasingly arbitrary “taxation” and extortion, further undermining its credibility and reducing its attractiveness to recruits. Da’esh increasingly resorts to conscription to fill its ranks and is constrained in its ability to mount military operations.

We continue to be deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian needs in areas affected by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. We welcome the generous response of host communities in neighboring countries, along with donors at the February 2016 London Conference and three earlier conferences hosted by Kuwait, all of which have helped address the overwhelming humanitarian needs of Syrians. We will continue to demand full and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to all parts of Syria. The urgent needs of civilians in Iraq, as set out in the United Nations 2016 Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan, also call for principled, life-saving funding and renewed efforts to guarantee protection and humanitarian access. The situation of besieged communities and hard-to-reach areas still demands a concerted international response. We call on all members of the international community to continue addressing Iraq’s humanitarian assistance challenges in 2016, in keeping with the extraordinary contributions made at the 20 July 2016 Pledging Conference. We note with concern that military operations to liberate Mosul - Iraq’s second largest city - and the possible displacement of up to one million people as a result, could increase humanitarian needs even beyond the recently pledged resources.

We acknowledge the need to stabilize quickly the areas devastated by Da’esh. Public safety and immediate stabilization in liberated communities are top priorities for our Coalition. With the recent military advances, the number of people needing help with recovery is growing, particularly in the populated areas of Iraq. Welcoming the vital contributions by many Coalition members at the 20 July Pledging Conference for Iraq, we urge continued support for the UN’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization and its new Funding Facility for Expanded Stabilization, intended to help local partners improve conditions for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of residents and to promote the economic revival of their communities. We will continue our support for the program to train additional Iraqi police, led by the Government of Italy, recognizing the crucial need to provide for a substantial increase in the number of trainees from its current level. We recognize that clearing war debris in liberated areas, training police forces to secure local communities and understanding the varied needs and roles of local women, men, children, youth and aged are prerequisites for the return of displaced populations and sustainable recovery. Legitimate, inclusive local governance is also essential for stability.

We strongly support Prime Minister Abadi and the Government of Iraq as they work to defeat Da’esh and put Iraq on the path to stability and prosperity, including through institutional reforms. We reaffirm our support for Iraq’s government as it works to address governance, improve public services, reduce corruption, decentralize certain federal authorities and ensure the rights of all Iraqis irrespective of their religion, sect and ethnicity. As the campaign against Da’esh progresses, we will continue our support for the Iraqi government’s efforts to accelerate national reconciliation and strengthen the political foundations for the rule of law, security, stability and prosperity of all Iraqis, with full respect for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. To ensure Da’esh’s lasting defeat, we must continue to promote policies of inclusiveness at all levels of the Iraqi government.

We underscore our support for international frameworks – UNSCRs 2178, 2199, 2253 – along with institutions such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum and Financial Action Task Force, to block Da’esh and foreign-terrorist-fighter travel, financing, trafficking and illicit trade. We will continue to strengthen our cooperation, including with INTERPOL, to detect, monitor and interdict foreign terrorist fighters, including those who return from the conflict area, while disrupting facilitation networks. We are likewise determined to disrupt Da’esh’s ability to generate, move and use funds, building on the success of our coordinated efforts to reduce its revenues. We are resolved to keep Da’esh completely cut off from international financial channels and to eliminate any financial links with its affiliates outside Iraq and Syria. We will continue to utilize UNSCRs 1267, 1989 and 2253 as the basis for sanctions against those who support Da’esh. We welcome the innovative communications responses by Coalition partners to challenge Da’esh’s violent ideology and the propaganda that promotes it. We will continue to work proactively together to undermine the Da’esh’s violent world-view and build resilience against its attempts to influence global audiences. In this regard, we encourage members to work with private-sector and community-based entities to counter Da’esh indoctrination and prevent its exploitation of cyber-space to commit acts of terrorism.

Given the complexity of the threat posed by Da’esh, the common desire to seek its lasting defeat, and the growing number of attacks by Da’esh or home-grown terrorists inspired by its ideology, our governments must accelerate efforts to enhance coordination and information sharing with one another and internally. Recognizing the need to work more collaboratively against global terrorist networks, the nations here today have been invited to join a discussion among relevant services to improve information-sharing. Our collective aim is to prevent terrorist attacks, with an immediate focus on the threat that Da’esh poses to our homelands and way of life. In this context, we welcome the addition of INTERPOL to the Coalition. We note the positive steps governments have taken already, resulting in a 400-percent increase in the number of foreign terrorist fighters’ profiles shared through INTERPOL during the past two years. We call on all nations to provide INTERPOL data on foreign terrorist fighters, consistent with national laws.

The Coalition stands with the Syrian people and supports a genuine political transition based on the 2012 Geneva Communique and UNSCR 2254, aimed at establishing an inclusive, pluralistic and non-sectarian government that represents the will of all Syrians. A negotiated political resolution to the conflict is essential to bring about the defeat of Da’esh. Recalling the timeline established by UNSCR 2254 for moving towards a political transition, we urge all parties – especially the Syrian regime – to respect fully the Cessation of Hostilities, reduce violence and focus on ending the conflict. We condemn the indiscriminate violence targeting civilians, whether by the regime, Da’esh, al-Nusra Front or other armed groups. We are united in our demand for an end to the Syrian regime’s indiscriminate bombing and obstruction of access for humanitarian assistance, and we call for its full, immediate and unequivocal compliance with UNSCR 2254 and all other relevant UN Security Council resolutions. These actions are contrary to the international consensus in support of the Cessation and prevent the resumption of the UN-sponsored negotiating process. We call on all the parties to commit constructively to the political dialogue under United Nations auspices as the only means to achieve peace and preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. We are ready to step up preparations for stabilization, rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Syria, as well as the return of Syrian refugees and displaced persons, when the parties reach a political settlement.

In Libya, we stand ready to assist the Government of National Accord at its request and will support its efforts to unite security and military forces under its command in order to defeat Da’esh and establish peace, security and the rule of law for the Libyan people in a united, sovereign Libya. We welcome the success of the GNA in fighting Da’esh and limiting its control of Sirte to a small area. We recognize the necessity of enhanced coordination efforts between legitimate Libyan military and security forces in the fight against Da’esh and other UN-designated terrorist groups throughout Libyan territory, including Benghazi, Dernah and Sabratha, and we welcome the progress achieved in pushing back Da’esh in these areas. We will continue to give our attention to Libya and the threat Da’esh poses to Libya and its neighbors.

Mindful of the many challenges Da’esh poses in diverse regions, we remain committed to sustaining momentum of the Global Coalition and look forward to the next meeting of the Small Group Political Directors, planned for Berlin in November 2016.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/franceintheus/albums/72157670595242812

Remarks by Secretary Kerry and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

State Department, July 21, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. I am very happy to welcome my friend Jean-Marc Ayrault, the foreign minister of France. And I want to begin by expressing yet again the deep sympathy and condolence of the United States of America for Nice, for 83 lives lost, including three Americans, but more – France has had more than its share of terrible, horrible moments of acts of terrorism over the course of the last year. And France has been one of the strongest and most important leaders in the counterterrorism fight on an international basis. We’re deeply appreciative of France’s commitment, of France’s leadership, not just on that, but on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, on our efforts in Afghanistan, our efforts for peace in Syria.

FOREIGN MINISTER AYRAULT: Thank you very much, John. It’s a pleasure to see John Kerry again here in Washington. We have many occasion to speak and work together. And to first say – the first – my first words are for the American victims of this terrible attack in Nice, three American who died. It’s a very big tragedy for all people who fight for liberty and for freedom and democracy.

And we are – I believe we are the best friends, between France and America, United States of America. It’s a long story, but this friendship must continue. We have responsibility together to fight against terrorism. (Inaudible) the meeting from today. We must do more for peace, for – I think in Syria and Iraq, in the Middle East, in Israel, Palestine, Libya, all over the world. And we have to fight together, to strengthen our friendship, and this is the occasion to say here in Washington my involvement, my engagement in name of France.

Thank you very much, John.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend. Those are very strong words, and as everybody knows, France is our oldest ally, one of our strongest allies, and Jean-Marc and I are becoming very good friends and enjoy working together.

FOREIGN MINISTER AYRAULT: Thank you, John.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, my friend. Thank you.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/franceintheus/albums/72157671269575586

Jean-Marc Ayrault at the CSIS: "The future of Europe"

July 21, 2016

Fight against terrorism

As you recalled, a week ago terrorism struck France once again, in Nice, on the day when liberty, equality and fraternity were being celebrated. My colleague and friend John Kerry had stood beside me that very morning in the Place de la Concorde, to share a moment of communion focusing on the values that unite us. A few hours later we heard the terrible news. The attack, which took such a heavy toll on people of every origin, reminds us that we can’t take those values for granted if we don’t defend them ourselves.

In order to defend them, France relies firstly on what it is: an open society, a Republic determined to enable its citizens, wherever they come from, to live together. This system is being put to the test. Since the end of the Second World War, terrorism has undoubtedly been the most difficult of those tests. But believe me, we are utterly determined to protect what we are. Despite the efforts of Daesh [so-called ISIL] and al-Qaeda to divide us, this system stands firm. France will continue to be an open society; in the battle it’s fighting against this scourge, it will also continue to be a country where the rule of law applies.

In order that we may prevail, this battle is taking place in our countries but also abroad, where the hotbeds of radicalization in the Middle East and Africa must be eradicated. It’s not possible to tolerate people in all four corners of the world continuing to be tortured, or our young people in both America and Europe being targeted by deadly propaganda leading to mass crimes. France is making active efforts with its allies and partners. It’s counting on their solidarity, because the challenge of terrorism concerns us all.

This solidarity works in both directions. It’s reflected, for example, in France’s support for African countries’ efforts against Boko Haram or jihadist groups in the Sahel, where, in 2013, our soldiers enabled an entire country, Mali, to be prevented from falling into the hands of terrorism. It’s leading us to intervene against Daesh, with the United States and all our coalition partners, in Iraq and Syria. It’s the reason why I’m here in Washington today. This solidarity also inspires our initiatives to find a solution to the crises in the Middle East, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian issue – for which France is striving to mobilize the international community again – but also, and above all, the Syria tragedy.

We enjoy the same solidarity from the United States, our oldest ally, which has always stood alongside us at difficult times. I must say that the Franco-American alliance has never been closer, in Africa, in the Middle East, but also in New York at the Security Council, and of course in the exchanges of intelligence that are so important to our shared battle against terrorism. The growth of these exchanges is essential if we want to prevent these tragedies –such as those in Nice, San Bernardino and Orlando – from recurring.

This solidarity also comes from European Union member states. It was expressed unequivocally when, after the attacks of 13 November, France invoked the solidarity clause of the Treaty on European Union. It was a first, and our European partners rose to the occasion by lending political and military support, which is again being confirmed today, following the attack in Nice.

To face up to the terrorist threat, our countries need to be strong. They need to cooperate more together. On the other side of the Atlantic, Europe is an essential framework for France in that solidarity. So France needs a strong Europe. (…)

European Union

“Brussels” is often criticized, just as Washington DC is in the United States, but the EU remains strong, whatever all the Eurosceptics may say – as you know, there are a lot of them, and not only in Europe, doing their best to exploit the British voters’ choice, although I’m convinced it’s in vain. Moreover, the vote caused shockwaves, not only in Britain – where the very people who advocated Brexit didn’t believe in it, although it happened after all – but also in the rest of Europe.

Instead, the polls are showing a rise in pro-European feeling – at any rate, so far – in the main member states, particularly because Europeans saw clearly that the Brexiteers were the first to shirk their responsibilities in the wake of 23 June. Basically, after conducting a partly populist campaign, they hadn’t thought about the subsequent days and what they’d have to do if Brexit prevailed. The public felt this very strongly; it’s an important point. That’s why we must make no mistakes now in the way this is followed up, and it’s why I’ve also been clear about how, in my opinion, we must face up to the negotiation in a spirit of responsibility and clarity.

The terrorist threat and Brexit clearly can’t be put on the same level. But they bring with them the same danger: erosion, the temptation towards self-absorption, and an introverted Europe too focused on resolving its own problems to be interested in world affairs. That’s the danger for us: of spending several years focusing on these Brexit negotiations and not thinking about what we can subsequently do for Europe, in the interest of Europeans.

We must fight this temptation, which goes against Europeans’ interests. The fight against terrorism demands increased international efforts. Protecting our fellow citizens is all the more effective when it’s part of a collective effort by the international community. You can count on France to ensure the European Union remains fully engaged, particularly in coordination with Germany.

For France, Germany is the partner we’re moving Europe forward with. It’s an historic responsibility and it’s my priority; you mentioned the beginnings of when I took office, and it’s true that from the outset I wanted to signal the need to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.

We must increase this dynamism and, above all, make it benefit the European project. It was in this spirit that, very soon after the British referendum, my colleague Frank-Walter Steinmeier and I set out common proposals we’d worked on for several months for consolidating and revitalizing the EU, with concrete projects in the fields of security, the economy and migration in particular. Those proposals are a contribution – nothing more, but a contribution – to enriching the discussion that is necessary with our 27 partners, so that in Bratislava on 16 September the heads of state and government can send a message of confidence to the European people, a message of confidence from Europe to the world. (…)

Finally, the European Union is still a global power, regardless of Brexit. Admittedly, it isn’t a state; Jacques Delors talked about a federation of nation-states. The old European nations exist and will exist for a long time. It isn’t a question of creating a federal system which would wipe out each of our nations; it’s an original structure, the only one in the world, which brings together these old nations which, for such a long time, did nothing but wage war against each other.

Today we still form a coherent whole with 450 million inhabitants, and we’re the world’s leading trading power and the leading provider of development aid. For the United States the European Union will still be tomorrow, as it is today, the single market in which American businesses will seize opportunities. It will still be an area of rights and freedoms, a benchmark when it comes to economic regulation, with the aim of creating fair conditions for all businesses – the level playing field referred to so often.

The European Union will also remain a key player as regards stabilization and development in an increasingly chaotic world. As for NATO, in which France has taken its full place again, it obviously isn’t affected by the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. (…)./.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/franceintheus/albums/72157671373882785

Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Brookings Institution

July 20, 2016

On July 20, Minister of Defense Le Drian took part in a discussion at The Brookings Institution on the theme "Reinvigorating the transatlantic partnership to tackle evolving threats". The Minister emphasized the importance of the French-American cooperation in the fight against ‪Daesh‬: "Given the scale of the challenge we are facing, our response must be a joint one."

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/franceintheus/albums/72157671237998696

      top of the page