Hollande urges 'collective', 'firm' response to terrorism

French President Francois Hollande urged the international community to offer a "firm" and "collective" response in the wake of last week`s attacks in Paris that claimed 17 lives.

AFP| Updated: Jan 16, 2015, 18:05 PM IST

Paris:French President Francois Hollande urged the international community to offer a "firm" and "collective" response in the wake of last week`s attacks in Paris that claimed 17 lives.

Speaking to Paris-based ambassadors from around the world, Hollande said: "Our response has to be firm in the face of terrorism. It can only be collective."

"We are waging a war against it (terrorism), but not a war against a religion but a war against hate," he said.

"The attacks in Paris are an insult to Islam," stressed the president, reiterating that "Muslims are the main victims of terrorism."

"The most lasting response is firm and unified action for peace and international security. Because unresolved conflicts are sources of inspiration for terrorists and areas of chaos are their training ground," he told diplomats.

Hollande took aim at Islamist movement Boko Haram, who he said were carrying out "crimes of humanity" in Nigeria.

"France must give more help to countries fighting this scourge," he pledged.

"It`s not just women being kidnapped. That`s already atrocious enough. It`s children being massacred. It`s villages, whole towns being razed," he said, in reference to recent Boko Haram attacks.

Boko Haram fighters detained hundreds of women and children at a school in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga after a massive attack earlier this month, one woman who was freed said.

In a wide-ranging foreign policy speech, Hollande also urged Iran to "clarify its position and intentions" in the Middle East, saying it had an "important role" to play in resolving conflicts in the region.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was to meet his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif later Friday to discuss the thorny issue of Tehran`s nuclear ambitions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was also to hold talks with Zarif as international powers forge ahead with negotiations.

Iran and major world powers have given themselves until late June to reach a comprehensive agreement that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb, a goal it denies having, in return for an easing of punishing economic sanctions.