President Obama meets with French President Hollande

President Obama meets with French President Hollande

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest on President Barack Obama’s meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the White House on the fight against the Islamic State group:

12:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey points to an “ongoing problem” with Russia’s airstrikes in Syria.

Obama says Turkey “has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.” And he says that Russia is operating very close to the Turkish border as it goes after moderate opposition groups that are supported by Turkey and a wide range of countries.

The president says that if Russia would instead concentrate its airstrikes on the Islamic State group, then mistakes would be “less likely to occur.”

Obama is urging both Turkey and Russia to take measures “to discourage any kind of escalation” over the downing of the Russian warplane.

And Obama says that the downing of the plane underscores the importance of moving forward on efforts to find a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

The president spoke during a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande.


12:35 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) says he plans to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that France can work with Russia, if Moscow concentrates its military action in Syria on fighting the Islamic State group.

Hollande is speaking at the White House alongside President Barack Obama. He says France wants Russia to commit fully to a political solution in Syria and to eradicate terrorism.

Hollande says France wants to work with all countries that are willing to find and implement solutions to Syria’s civil war. He says, “We do not want to exclude anyone.”

Hollande also says the Syrian refugee crisis is directly relevant to Europe. He says if Europe abandons the millions of refugees fleeing bombs and the Islamic State, it would betray what Europe stands for.

But the French president says Europe must secure its borders. He says Turkey plays an important role. He says Europe must work with Russia to find solutions so that refugees can stay close to their country of origin.


12:30 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande says that in a meeting with President Barack Obama the two decided to scale up their efforts in Syria and Iraq.

Hollande says the two countries will strengthen their intelligence-sharing regarding targets.

Obama says the United States will do even more to prevent attacks at home and that there is a growing recognition after the Paris attacks that European countries need to ramp up efforts to stop the flow of terrorists.


12:15 p.m.

President Barack Obama says Russia’s airstrikes against moderate opposition groups in Syria are bolstering the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He’s calling on Russia to play a more constructive role by shifting the focus of its airstrikes to defeating the Islamic State.

Obama spoke at a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande after the two met to discuss the global response to the Islamic State group

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is targeting the Islamic State militants. But the U.S. contends Moscow is going after rebels fighting Assad, a Kremlin ally whom the U.S. wants pushed out.

Obama added that the best way to bring peace to Syria is to support a cease fire and a political transition away from Assad.


12:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama says the Islamic State group cannot be tolerated and must be destroyed. He says the U.S. and France must destroy it together.

Obama is speaking after an Oval Office meeting with French President Francois Hollande. Obama says he and Hollande agreed the nations in the U.S.-led coalition must do more together to fight the Islamic State.

Obama is calling it a “barbaric terrorist group.” He says this is an important moment for the U.S. and France as well as the rest of the world.

Obama is declaring “total solidarity” with France and pledging to bring justice to the perpetrators and the people who sent them. Obama says the U.S. and France together will “defend out nations.”

The president also says the attacks that killed 130 in Paris was an attack on the world itself.


10:25 a.m.

President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande have started their Oval Office meeting on the global response to the Islamic State group.

Hollande arrived at the White House midmorning Tuesday. The two planned to take questions at a news conference following their meeting.

The sit-down comes less than two weeks after the Islamic State group launched a series of deadly attacks inParis. The visit has been complicated by Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian warplane on Tuesday.

Hollande’s trip to Washington is part of a diplomatic push to get the international community to bolster the campaign against the Islamic State. But he’s likely to leave Washington without firm backing for his call to bring Russia into a new coalition to fight the extremists.


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