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Côte d’Ivoire/terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam

Published on March 23, 2016
Statements to the press by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, following his audience with the President of Côte d’Ivoire

Abidjan, March 15, 2016

I came here on France’s behalf, accompanied by Bernard Cazeneuve – my government colleague, the Interior Minister – to convey a message.

Firstly, from François Hollande, the President of the Republic, who spoke to you yesterday afternoon. A message of solidarity, condolence and affection for your country, to the Ivorian people, who have suffered deep wounds.

And following this craven attack, we want to express our condolences to all the casualties and their families. A few moments ago, we silently paid our respects in front of the coffins of the four French people who died, but, of course, in our tribute we paid our respects to the memory of all the victims.

Following the attacks in Bamako and Ougadougou, but also in Kenya, Tunisia and France – as you know, twice, last year –, we share the same threat from terrorists.
What’s at stake is our way of life, our desire to make a success of our development through democracy and freedom. It’s this model of society which is threatened and at stake. We must defend it with all our might, with all our heart, with our firm beliefs and the necessary means, in a mutually supportive way.

In a few moments, Bernard Cazeneuve and I will be having a working meeting with our counterparts – the Foreign and Interior Ministers – and Defence Minister. We’ll be able to look at the necessary cooperation in more detail.

At any rate, Mr President, I also wanted to express to you our admiration for the courage with which the Ivorian police and special forces intervened to stop the slaughter, with a modus operandi similar to that in other countries. We need to step up our cooperation further so that the terrorists have no chance.

The message I would like to convey in concluding this speech is also one of confidence for all those who believe in freedom, who believe in democracy, and one of confidence for Côte d’Ivoire.

Economic meetings are scheduled in the next few days. They are all going ahead. It’s the best response to the terrorists, who want to break us. Life goes on. Life for our peoples, so they can live their future lives in complete safety.

So we’ll use the means necessary and continue to provide mutual support. In particular, we’ll continue to support Côte d’Ivoire, which has now begun – and did so several years ago – a remarkable political process and, at the same time, is getting back its economic dynamism and regaining its leading role in this part of Africa.

It’s also all that, your whole ambition, that we’ve come to support: to support you, Mr President, your government and the Ivorian people. In other words, the support of French people and the support of France’s friendship./.

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