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American presidential election – Interview given by Laurent Fabius to France 2 (November 7, 2012)

Q. – What’s your reaction to the election of Barack Obama?

The Minister – It’s good news, because I think President Obama is the person most capable of tackling the challenges awaiting Americans: fiscal problems, employment problems, immigration problems.

And it’s good news for France, too, because we have excellent relations with the Obama administration, and because together we’re going to try and tackle the existing crises: Syria, Iran, Israel-Palestine, terrorism. So it’s a positive day.

Q. – Barack Obama doesn’t always seem to have taken an interest in Europe, quite simply because Europe strikes him as neither a solution nor a problem. What are you expecting of him as far as Europe and France are concerned?

The Minister – As far as Europe’s concerned, Mr Obama is on the same wavelength as us regarding growth, and that’s absolutely paramount. He stresses the fact that the United States on the one hand and Europe on the other must fuel growth, otherwise we won’t resolve the problem of employment. He’s already done it in the past, and we’re counting on him and his administration to help us argue for growth. That’s one important point.

And there’s another point, so-called global governance, namely that there are problems that can be resolved only if there’s global governance; I’m thinking in particular about the climate issue.

So we’re expecting President Obama to continue making progress with us along that path.

Q. – And on the major international issues, for example, he doesn’t seem to have made any progress on the issue of the Middle East and Israel’s conflict with Palestine. What are you expecting of him?

The Minister – I think there’ll be very swift and necessary contact between President Obama and the French President. I’ll be speaking personally to Hillary Clinton on the telephone this afternoon, because we need the United States to engage on these issues. It’s true of Syria, where the Americans have recently been in the background a little. It’s true of Iran, where we absolutely need to put pressure on the Iranians so that they don’t head towards a nuclear weapon, and on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, where the Americans must help us gain recognition for the rights of the Palestinians.

Q. – What do you want to say to Mr Obama?

The Minister – [In English:] Good luck, Mr President.


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