January 16, 2020
French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle
- French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will soon sail to the eastern Mediterranean to support the international coalition against ISIS.
He stressed that the aircraft carrier "will be at the core of joint operations between several European countries," adding that "Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Greece will participate in keeping up with" Charles de Gaulle "during its operations."
He pointed out that "this European power, as is our case in the Baltic countries, will come to strengthen the link between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean and to strengthen NATO, and this is additional evidence that European defense and NATO are two pillars of one structure."
The French President stressed that "in the Near and Middle East, despite the transformations taking place in the region, our forces participating in the North operation continue their operations in combating ISIS (...) whose threat remains, in another way, latent and more subtle."
Macron veiledly criticized countries that withdrew part of their forces from Iraq in early January, against the backdrop of escalating tension between Tehran and Washington.
He said that "France, since its inception and steadfastness ... has remained determined and courageous," stressing that "those who fight the terrorist threat, and those who bear it, in this region, know who is present and who is remaining."
Macron was speaking from the "123 Orleans-Bercy" air base, which is one of the most prominent French air bases, and includes 2,200 military and civilian personnel covering a wide range of activities, including air transport and special operations.