11 September 2001 attacks
On 11 September 2001, international terrorism reminded the world of its cowardly, indiscriminate cruelty. We saw a city disfigured, a people wounded, a great democracy bruised. On 11 September 2001, we all felt American.
Today my first thoughts are with all the victims of those terrible attacks. With their loved ones too, who faced the ordeal with courage and dignity and have been living with grief these past 10 years. And with all those women and men, known or anonymous, whose lives or freedom have been taken away by international terrorism – I am thinking particularly of our French hostages.
With the collapse of the twin towers, we understood that no state, however powerful it may be, can now consider itself safe from the threat. We understood that, faced with a mad drive by the fanatics, we had to be unwavering in our vigilance and make no concessions in our struggle. We realized that no territory must be allowed to serve as a rear base for international terrorism. Above all, we understood that, in its struggle, the international community must be united and mutually supportive. The fight against terrorism is not that of one country against another, let alone one civilization against another. It is the fight of democracy against mindless violence from wherever it comes, so it concerns us all. The tragic attacks which recently plunged Norway into mourning reminded us of that.
Our feelings of solidarity with the American people have grown stronger. They have grown stronger in every aspect thanks to an exceptional relationship whose strength I acknowledge whenever I am in touch with my counterpart, Hillary Clinton. They have grown stronger by our being brothers in arms in Afghanistan, where our troops are engaged side by side to curb international terrorism.
Ten years after the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the death of Osama Bin Laden marks a turning-point in the fight against terrorism and shows that the international community’s efforts are not in vain.
The development of police cooperation and the sharing of intelligence have made it possible to thwart plotted attacks and dismantle terrorist cells. Thanks to a strengthening of international judicial cooperation, we have been able to provide justice to the victims and their families.
However, our battle is not over. The threat is constantly evolving. We are now confronted with local movements claiming to belong to al-Qaeda which establish themselves in certain regions of the world and are fuelled by the weakness of states, the population’s abject poverty or crisis situations. In the face of this threat, we cannot lower our guard. International cooperation remains essential. It is a battle for security. It is a battle for peace and democracy./.