Obama, Sarkozy in Strasbourg, France

Now, just one last thing I want to say. I think that France has already been a stalwart ally when it comes to Afghanistan. So we discussed the possibilities of all the NATO allies reengaging in a more effective mission in Afghanistan, which is military, diplomatic, deals with the development needs of both Pakistan and India. So it’s not just a matter of more resources, it’s also a matter of more effectively using the resources we have.

And on this I think, once again, France and the United States are on the same page. But I just wanted to — before Nicolas answered the question directed at him, I just wanted to publicly thank and praise France once again for its outstanding leadership when it comes to Afghanistan. I’ve not had to drag France kicking and screaming into — into Afghanistan, because France recognizes that having al Qaeda operate safe havens that can be used to launch attacks is a threat not just to the United States, but to Europe. In fact, it is probably more likely that al Qaeda would be able to launch a serious terrorist attack in Europe than in the United States, because of proximity.

And so this is not an American mission, this is a NATO mission, this is an international mission. France has always understood that, and for that I am very grateful.

PRESIDENT SARKOZY: Well, we totally endorse and support America’s new strategy in Afghanistan. And I want to say to my fellow Frenchmen that when New York was crucified, this could have happened in any other capital city of any democratic state. It wasn’t New York that was being targeted, it was democracies at large.

Now, either we as democracies stand by our allies in the face of extremists and terrorists and fanatics — and we will win. And that is what is at stake there.

Secondly, this is something we talked about with President Obama, there will be no extra troops, French troops, because the decision to step up our troop presence was taken already last year.

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