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Fighting ‘Islamist terror’ is France’s top priority, says Macron

Fighting "Islamist terrorism" is France's top priority, President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday in a key foreign policy speech.

Fighting 'Islamist terror' is France's top priority, says Macron
AFP
“Providing security for our citizens means that the fight against Islamist terrorism is our first priority,” he told some 200 French ambassadors gathered in Paris.
 
Since early 2015, France has suffered a series of terror attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives. These have included the targeting of soldiers and police officers on patrol at popular tourist spots
 
“There's no place for naivete, nor for fear of Islam which confuses Islamism and Islamic,” he said, calling assuring the security of the French the “raison d'etre” of the country's diplomatic efforts.
   
Macron announced the organisation of a conference on staunching the sources of funding for terror groups, to be held in Paris in early 2018.
 
He also argued against taking sides in the regional power battle between Iran, a majority Shiite Muslim country, and Saudi Arabia, a Sunni power.
   
“Some have chosen (their camp). It's a mistake. The strength of our diplomacy is to speak to all sides,” he said.

 
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The 39-year-old leader also insisted there was “no alternative” to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has been fiercely opposed by US President Donald Trump.
 
“There is no alternative to the non-proliferation agenda. It enables a constructive and demanding relationship with Iran,” he said.
   
Facing dismal approval ratings less than four months into his term, Macron was looking to burnish his foreign policy credentials with the speech, which is a fixture on France's political calendar.
   
France's youngest ever president has shown determination to restore what he sees as the country's declining international prestige under his predecessor, Socialist president Francois Hollande.
   
He has won kudos for making a bold start on the international stage, hosting both Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin within his first weeks in office.
   
He raised human rights with Putin and spoke out against Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord on fighting climate change.
 
Tuesday's speech came a day after Macron hosted a mini-summit with African and European leaders on the migrant crisis.
   
The leaders backed proposals to screen asylum seekers in Chad and Niger as a way to prevent thousands from taking perilous journeys across the Mediterranean.

EMMANUEL MACRON

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

 
The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.
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