President Hollande Hosts U.S. Vice President Biden in Paris
Excerpts From Joint Press Conference at the Elysée Palace
February 4, 2013
President Hollande: Ladies and Gentlemen, I was delighted to welcome Mr. Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, to Paris.
I want to assure him of our wholehearted friendship.
I want to express once again our full confidence in the term that he and Barack Obama will now serve.
I also had an opportunity to tell him that we are facing major international challenges.
First of all with respect to Mali, I would like to express my appreciation for the United States’ support as soon as I took the decision for France to intervene on behalf of the international community.
The United States’ support is key: it includes political, material as well as logistical support and support within the framework of the donors’ conference. I therefore want to express my gratitude here before the vice president. France will continue its mission to ensure that Mali regains its territorial integrity, and then hand over to the African troops. And this mission should, going forward, become a peacekeeping operation.
We also talked about Syria.
I noted that we shared the same views. We also note that the situation is deteriorating day after day with many civilian casualties. And what should be the settlement of that crisis is in a situation of deadlock.
We believe that Bashar al-Assad should go, and we are doing our utmost to ensure that a transitional solution can be found. So this is the reason why we have been supporting the Syrian National Coalition, like the United States.
We also talked about the Iranian nuclear program. And here again, we regret to note that, despite all of the efforts, Iran is still refusing to demonstrate transparency and to comply with its international obligations.
Another date has been set for a meeting very soon so that negotiations can still take place. We will therefore keep the pressure up until the end in order to ensure that the negotiations can succeed.
We also share the same willingness to revive the Middle East peace process.
Now that the elections in Israel are behind us, and the Palestinian authorities are willing to commit themselves, we must make sure that the United States and Europe take action to ensure the resumption of negotiations that will result in the creation of two states.
We then also discussed the economy.
Both the American administration and the French presidency share the same approach. We want to put our public finances in order. We have all inherited debts from the previous majorities. But beyond sorting out the debt and reducing the deficit, we all want to support growth.
And I haven’t forgotten that the first international meeting I attended was the G8 at Camp David and on that occasion Barack Obama was hosting the foreign leaders, and he kept telling us that growth should be at the heart of our decisions.
Fiscal seriousness and growth are not incompatible, and both the United States and France can prove it.
The last topic we discussed at great length is climate.
The duty that we have to pass on to future generations a planet that can avoid major disasters. We therefore have to make sure that in the context of the climate conference we can work together to achieve tangible results.
This is what I can say about our meeting today.
It will be followed by a visit by the French minister of foreign affairs to the United States to meet his counterpart, Mr. John Kerry.
And there will also be many discussions between myself and President Obama on all of the topics I just mentioned.
But today’s visit by Mr. Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States, is another opportunity for us to say how strong the friendship between our two countries is.
Published on February 5, 2013