Remarks With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
New York City
September 21, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: I want to say two words. First of all, it’s a great pleasure to welcome the foreign minister of France, Laurent Fabius. France has been as close a partner and important to our current challenges as any country in the world. We’re very grateful for the conference that was held in Paris a few days ago at which some 30 entities, countries and NGOs, came together to commit to deal with the problem of ISIS. And France has been engaged with us in counterterrorism efforts on a global basis, and their leadership in Mali and elsewhere has been essential.

We will be working this week not only on ISIL but on Libya, on the challenges of the Middle East. And I think there is a great deal of challenge to work on, obviously, at this particular moment in time.

The second thing I want to mention very quickly – and by the way, Laurent Fabius deserves the hero award for the last week for having been here on Friday, flown over to come to the meeting, flown back to France, done events in France, and come back here Sunday afternoon to meet yet again and be part of the Major Economies Forum. So we are very grateful for that effort.

I want to congratulate Dr. Ashraf Ghani, the new president announced of Afghanistan, and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, for their joint act of statesmanship, for their leadership, for their willingness to put Afghanistan and the interests of the Afghan people ahead of their personal interests and party. They have joined together in a unity government that offers a huge opportunity for progress in Afghanistan, for the signing of the BSA in a week or so, the inauguration next week of the new president, and importantly, for a real program of unity and reform to be implemented on behalf of the people of Afghanistan.

France – all of us who’ve been involved in this effort these past 13 years – have a deep commitment to the possibilities of the future, but it is the people of Afghanistan and their leaders who have created this moment, and we’re very grateful for that.


SECRETARY KERRY: Very generous, very generous. (Laughter.)


SECRETARY KERRY: Merci beaucoup.