Speaking from the podium of the General Assembly on a day when the fight against Islamist terrorism took centre stage at the United Nations, French President François Hollande today vowed that France would never give in to terrorist following the beheading of a French national in Algeria.
France will strive without respite to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with which the Algerian group that murdered d’Hervé Gourdel has affiliated itself, Mr. Hollande told the leaders of 193 nations on the first day of the Assembly’s 69th annual General Debate.
According to published reports, Mr. Gourdel, a mountain guide, was seized in the Tizi Ouzou region, about 70 miles east of Algiers, while he was hiking, and his kidnappers gave France a 24 hour ultimatum to halt its air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. His beheading was posted on video sites today.
“Operations are under way,” Mr. Hollande said, referring to his order earlier this month to launch air strikes against ISIL in Iraq, taking the podium as the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding that all States make it a serious criminal offense for their citizens to travel abroad to fight with militant groups, recruit or fund others to do so.
He blamed the Syrian regime for creating the conditions for terrorism to flourish and pledged continued total French support for the democratic Syrian opposition.
“We must take steps to fight against terrorist networks, to protect our youth from indoctrination, prevent their recruitment and dry up their funding,” he said.
Mr. Hollande also called for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing that Gaza cannot remain an arms depot for Hamas and an open air prison for its inhabitants.
The UN must take steps to help Libya rebuild a State, disarm militias and oust terrorists there, he added, pledging French support to efforts to eliminate the Boko Haram Islamist extremist group in Nigeria, calling it the African equivalent of ISIL.