French President Hollande To Meet Obama In Oval Office; Terrorism and ISIL To Be Discussed

apioToday President Obama will host French President Francois Hollande for a meeting in the Oval Office in the aftermath of the senseless terrorist attacks on innocent Parisians on November 13th.

President Obama and President Hollande will consult and coordinate efforts to assist France’s investigation into the terrorist attacks, discuss further cooperation in the 65 member counter ISIL coalition, and renew their determination to confront terrorism.

Yesterday French President Hollande met with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris to gain more support for France’s renewed drive to bomb ISIL targets after France sent the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier into the region.

Following the November 13th terrorist attacks, France has stepped up air assaults on ISIL targets across Syria and Iraq as it seeks to receive more support from Washington.

On Sunday President Obama spoke in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the U.S.-ASEAN and East Asia Summits and later addressed the importance of combating terrorism in a press conference.

“We will not accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants and theaters and hotels are the new normal — or that we are powerless to stop them” Obama said.

The U.S. led coalition, which includes Turkey and Arab partners, has already struck 8,000 strikes against ISIL so far.

Numerous other countries have contributed to the anti-ISIL coalition.

Obama explained that fifteen countries have deployed personnel to train and support local forces in Iraq while the United Arab Emirates and Germany are organizing 25 coalition partners in helping to stabilize areas in Iraq liberated from ISIL.

Italy is coordinating the multinational effort to train Iraqi police.

The U.S. has been instrumental in bringing all the key countries together in the Vienna to discuss a common understanding on the principles for ending the Syrian civil war and is helping to lead the effort to mobilize more aid for the Syrian people, including refugees.

Concerning Russia’s resurgence in Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for Syrian President Assad, Obama said the question is whether Russia can make the strategic adjustment that allows them to be effective partners with the U.S. and the other 65 countries who are already part of the counter-ISIL campaign.

“It’s not just a question of supporting somebody who has been ruthlessly dropping bombs on his own civilian populations. As a practical matter, it is not conceivable that Mr. Assad can regain legitimacy in a country in which a large majority of that country despises Assad and will not stop fighting so long as he’s in power, which means that the civil war perpetuates itself” Obama said.

Later this week, French President Francois Hollande will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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