Q. – We’ve learned that there have been arrests in Mali. What can you tell us about this?
THE MINISTER – The second round of the general election took place in Mali today. Tomorrow the National Assembly will be constituted. A president of the republic was elected with a very broad majority. There are still a number of difficulties in the north, but overall Mali has been made secure.
At the beginning of the year, in January, Mali was about to become the world’s first terrorist state. It’s December now and, thanks to France’s action, Mali has regained its integrity and independence, there’s a legitimately-elected president and, this evening, there’s a National Assembly. I want to salute the action France has carried out with the Africans.
Q. – Provided all the terrorist threats are resolved. Some terrorists close to Mokhtar Belmokhtar were arrested eight to 10 days ago. Can you confirm this?
THE MINISTER – Nineteen of them were actually killed.
Mali is no longer a terrorist country, but terrorism is an evil that continues to threaten the whole of Africa. The country which is perhaps most under threat today is Libya.
Q. – Can you confirm that everywhere, even in Libya and other countries, the threat and constant enemy is radical Islamism?
THE MINISTER – Yes, Islamist terrorism has links with hostage-taking and with drugs and arms trafficking, all often under the cover of religion. It’s an evil that spans the whole of Africa and also potentially threatens France. When you look at where Mali is, you see that after crossing one country you’re on the shore of the Mediterranean, and we’re on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Q. – Do you fear reprisals against France? Must we be more vigilant in France?
THE MINISTER – We must be very vigilant, and we are being. Together with the Interior Minister, we’re doing very specific work. This also concerns a lot of terrorists who have come from those regions of Africa or who may have been active in Syria./.