Sarkozy Talks Terrorism with Obama: “Democracies cannot afford to give in”

French President Nicolas Sarkozy with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, January 10, 2011.

From the White HouseExcerpts from remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France after Bilateral Meeting.

Obama:  We don’t have a stronger friend and a stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people.  We have cooperated over the last several years on dealing with a global economic crisis, dealing with the challenges of terrorism, dealing with a range of geopolitical issues from the Middle East to Iran to Afghanistan.  And I’ve always found Nicolas to be an outstanding partner and an outstanding friend to the American people, as well as a leader on the world stage. …

After this brief press appearance we’re going to be having lunch, and during that time we’ll be discussing issues in which there has been extraordinarily close collaboration.  Obviously the French are one of our strongest allies — a NATO ally; they are key members of ISAF.  French troops have been sacrificing alongside Americans in uniform in Afghanistan.  And we are very grateful for those sacrifices.  So we will be discussing our strategies there, building off of the discussions we had in Lisbon. 

 We’re also going to be discussing issues like Iran and the impact that sanctions are currently having on their nuclear program, and our hope that we can resolve this issue diplomatically.  But we will be building on our shared resolve to assure that we’re not seeing nuclear weapons in Iran. 

Sarkozy:  Both the U.S. and France are determined to stand firm as allies on this issue of terrorism.  Both of us believe that any show of weakness would be culpable.  We have no choice but to go after these terrorists wherever they may be.  When values as fundamental as those we cherish are being challenged, democracies cannot afford to give in.  They must — they must — combat. …

 Lastly, I want to thank Barack Obama, my host, for his show of leadership, and also point out that something that has always struck me about him, is his ability to get to the fundamentals, the root of issues, the root causes of things.  I appreciate his openness, the way he speaks very frankly about things with me.  And I am convinced, ladies and gentlemen, that in 2011, we will be able to come up with the structural solutions that will enable us to settle or at least to tackle the world’s imbalances and problems.  (photo: Getty)

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