- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

President Obama on Tuesday lauded French President Francois Hollande for taking a more active role on the world stage, helping facilitate agreements with Iran and Syria and confronting extremists in other spots around the globe.

“Francois, you haven’t just spoken eloquently about France’s determination to meet its responsibility as a global leader. You’ve also acted,” Mr. Obama said at the opening of a joint press conference at the White House on Tuesday. “From Mali and the Central African Republic, to Syria and Iran, you’ve shown courage and resolve. … We’re standing shoulder to shoulder on the challenges of global security.”

Later on Tuesday, the two leaders will take part in a state dinner at the White House, the first for a foreign leader in Mr. Obama’s second term.

France has played a major part in facilitating the deal to halt parts of Iran’s nuclear program, with the country’s tough position earning praise from hard-liners in Israel and the United States. Mr. Hollande also was among the strongest advocates last year for military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

In Libya, France spearheaded 2011 military strikes against the forces of Moammar Gadhafi, strikes that helped oust the longtime Libyan strongman.

French forces also have taken action against Islamists in Mali and elsewhere.

“France and the United States are two countries which … can act on security throughout the world, for freedom, democracy, the rule of law,” Mr. Hollande said.


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