Fight against terrorism - 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly/opening debate - Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (New York, 24/09/2014)
Ladies and gentlemen delegation leaders,
You will understand if I am expressing myself here today with particular emotion, because one of my compatriots has just been cravenly murdered in Algeria by a terrorist group linked to Daesh. His name was Hervé Gourdel; he was an enthusiastic man who loved mountaineering and, in travelling to the Djurdjura, in Algeria, was following his passion. He was captured and he was beheaded. That’s what terrorism does. And it doesn’t just do it to France. A few days ago, it was the Americans and the British who were subjected to the same barbarity.
These groups and that particular group, Daesh, do not strike only those who think differently from themselves. They strike Muslims, they strike civilian populations, they strike minorities. They rape, they kill. That is why the battle that the international community must wage against terrorism knows no borders. And it must carry the same flag, that of the United Nations, that of the values on which this organization was founded: human dignity, freedom, the vision we must have of the world of tomorrow, a world of justice.
France is fully engaged in this battle. That was the case in Africa, when it was called to Mali, where it was joined, fortunately, by many African and European countries and now by the United Nations. France engages whenever there is a risk. Now this threat is in Iraq and Syria. But it does not concern that region alone, for Daesh has decided not only to conquer territory, imagining that it will found a state. This group threatens the entire world by provoking attacks, organizing kidnappings and recruiting fighters from around the world to train them and show them the barbarity of which it is capable, so that they may reproduce this horrific terrorist movement in our own countries.
It is because this threat menaces not only the region but the world that France responded to the Iraqi authorities’ appeal to provide them first with military aid through the delivery of weapons this past August, and then with air support to keep Daesh from continuing, from being able to continue its progression.
We want to weaken it. We want to quash it, but we also know that as long as there is no resolution to the Syria crisis, all of our efforts may be undermined, so the challenge is not only to act against Daesh but also to achieve a political solution. We, France, support the Syrian opposition, the democratic opposition. We consider it the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. And here too, we will not back down; we will not compromise because of threats. Bashar al-Assad’s regime deserves to be condemned all the more as it is complicit in what has been going on in Syria for the past three years: 200,000 deaths and so many displaced persons.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This is a sad time for France, with the death - the murder - of one of our citizens, but France will never give in to blackmail, pressure or barbarous acts.
On the contrary, France knows what is expected of it. France knows that it upholds values, that it has a role to play and will never abandon it, and that the fight against terrorism will be continued and expanded as much as necessary while respecting the law and countries’ national sovereignty, for we make no mistake when we act; our actions always abide by the principles of the United Nations. (…)
This is a sad moment for me on behalf of France and a sad moment for the French people, but it’s also a wake-up call and a time to assume our responsibilities. For the world, for the planet, we must fight against terrorism. We must take action for peace. We must reduce inequalities. (…)./.