Thu, Nov 26, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Germany, US vow to stand by France


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama have both pledged to beef up their support for France in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

Speaking to lawmakers in Berlin yesterday, Merkel said that Germany is ready to strengthen its military commitment in global hotspots to free up French forces.

She said Germany could reinforce its presence in Mali, the site of a deadly attack by militants linked to al-Qaeda last week, and prolong its mission in Afghanistan.

With the terror threat in Germany also high, the government is stepping up security and intelligence gathering at home, she said.

“Germany stands at France’s side in the fight against terror,” Merkel said in an address to the lower house of parliament. “When additional engagements are needed, we are not going to exclude that possibility from the outset.”

Merkel spoke as she prepared to travel to Paris to meet with French President Francois Hollande to discuss efforts to attack IS at its base in Syria following the Nov. 13 Paris attacks. France might ask Germany to make use of its Tornado reconnaissance warplanes equipped with special cameras to identify IS positions, the Bild newspaper reported, without giving a source.

German Minister of National Defense Ursula von der Leyen yesterday said that the government plans to ask parliament for a mandate to expand Germany’s presence in Mali by 650 troops, helping to relieve French forces in the country fighting against terrorism. Islamic militants killed at least 20 people at a Radisson Blu hotel frequented by foreigners in the capital, Bamako, last week.

After meeting on Tuesday at the White House in Washington, Hollande and Obama pledged to step up the fight against IS, urging Russia to throw its weight behind global efforts to resolve the four-year Syrian conflict.

Speaking 11 days after jihadists killed 130 people in Paris, Hollande urged an “implacable” joint response to crush the group in Syria and Iraq.

At a joint news conference, Obama pledged the US’ full solidarity in the wake of the attacks, switching into French to tell Hollande: “We are all French.”

Hollande is to travel to Moscow today to discuss joint anti-terrorism efforts with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Additional reporting by AFP

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