Washington: In a bid to strengthen the coalition against the Islamic State, President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande will discuss ways confront the “scourge of terrorism” and coordinate US’ efforts to assist France’s probe into the horrific Paris attacks.
“Obama and Hollande will consult and coordinate our efforts to assist France’s investigation into these attacks, discuss further cooperation as part of the 65-member counter-ISIL coalition, and reiterate our shared determination to confront the scourge of terrorism,” the White House said ahead of the meeting.
The meeting in the Oval Office of the White House would be attended by Vice President Joe Biden among others. After the meeting, the two leaders are expected to address a joint news conference at the White House scheduled for 10:00 PM IST.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the meeting, but I also wouldn’t downplay the significance of additional expressions of solidarity and support,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.
“This is a time when the French people are grieving. Knowing that they can count on the most powerful country in the world to have their back, as they determine what’s necessary to strengthen homeland security in their own country but also to take the fight to ISIL; I think that will be a source of significant comfort to the French people,” he said.
“We’ve also seen the French announce their willingness just in the last week to ramp up their contributions. We did see French military pilots carry out an additional round or two of airstrikes over Syria,” he said, adding that the White House welcomes the action.
The two leaders are expected to come out with a joint strategy to defeat the Islamic State.
Meanwhile at the Pentagon, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would hold a meeting with his French counterpart.
This would be their first meeting after the November 13 Paris attacks. The two countries have already decided to intensify their intelligence co-operation.