Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
Speaks Before the Préfets (excerpts)
September 20, 2001

(...) The extreme violence of the attacks perpetrated in the United States on 11 September has horrified us and immediately made us feel solidarity with that country, our friend. We shall be at its side and resolute in the fight against terrorism.

The attacks which struck New York and Washington raise tragic questions for the whole of humanity as to the direction in which some would seemingly want to drag it. Those acts represent an absolute negation of the values on which the democracies and even international society itself are built.

Our first reaction is to demonstrate our deepest compassion to the American people who have been so brutally hit. (...) We French, who know the part the United States played in our Liberation, are particularly affected by the tragedy the Americans are enduring.

Going beyond our sympathy, our solidarity with the United States must be expressed in our active participation in the international fight against terrorism which must be waged with heightened determination. (...)

On her national territory and within Europe, France will play her full part in the fight against terrorism. It must be global - we must dismantle not just the armed networks but also the financial ones bankrolling them - and it must be international. (...)

It must be clear that we are waging this battle against terrorism neither against Islam nor against the Arab or Muslim countries. It must also be repeated that the fight against terrorism is inseparable from an international battle for development and justice, since poverty and injustice are a breeding ground for radical ideologies and terrorism.

Solidarity with the United States and resolute commitment to the fight against terrorism, in consultation with our European partners and with due regard for our national sovereignty, those are the principles guiding the government, in agreement with the President of the Republic. (...).