Remarks With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius After Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Quai d'Orsay
Paris, France
November 5, 2014


SECRETARY KERRY: Merci. Thank you, Laurent. As Foreign Minister Fabius has just said to you, we had a broad discussion on all of the topics that he mentioned to you. We agree that we are living in very, very complicated times with enormous challenges, but we also believe that we are up to those challenges. And whether it is Ebola or ISIL, Syria, Iraq, the challenge of the nuclear program in Iran, Afghanistan, France and the United States are cooperating more than ever before, hand in hand closely, driven by our values, as Laurent said, and mindful of the fact that the world is looking for leadership on these issues.

We did talk, as he said, about our approaches to and our concerns about the negotiations with respect to Iran’s program, and I agree with Laurent. They have a right to a peaceful program but not a track to a bomb. We believe it is pretty easy to prove to the world that a plan is peaceful. And so we talked today about our common positions, about our common interests. We are hand in hand, linked in this effort, and we will work extremely closely together in the next weeks to try to find a successful path.

In addition, we are very committed to continuing to press for the stability and ability to find peace in the Middle East. We talked about that today. We both have deep concerns about the continued settlements that are taking place and the need for all parties involved to avoid confrontation and try to find a way back to the negotiations, which are critical and the only way, in the end, to be able to bring about the stability and peace that people want.

So there are many challenges beyond even the ones we talked today – Libya, North Africa, counterterrorism – but I’m very grateful to Laurent Fabius for the leadership of France, for their engagement, for their initiative individually in certain countries – Mali, elsewhere, Central African Republic, where France has been willing to take the lead and help to make a difference. And we remain committed, particularly in these next weeks when so much is at stake, to continuing to work together extremely closely.

So I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here today and I thank Laurent for his good counsel and for his good food. (Laughter.) Thank you, sir.

FOREIGN MINISTER FABIUS: Thank you, sir. Merci.