François Hollande has appealed to British MPs to back David Cameron’s call to join airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, reports The Guardian.
The French president issued his request at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta on Friday, saying: “We want to destroy terrorism … I hope that the House of Commons will be able to meet the request of prime minister Cameron.”
His intervention appeared to be carefully choreographed with Downing Street: a No 10 official was in the room and it came just a day after Cameron urged MPs to support airstrikes in Syria.
“The reason for acting is the very direct threat that Isil [Isis] poses to our country and our way of life,” Cameron told MPs. “They have already taken the lives of British hostages and inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7 on the beaches of Tunisia.”
He added: “We shouldn’t be content with outsourcing our security to our allies. If we won’t act now, when our friend and ally France has been struck in this way, then our friends and allies can be forgiven for asking: if not now, when?”
Hollande’s words seemed to echo those of Cameron when he said the coalition against Isis was defending “our vision of mankind”.
Hollande went on: “Man is the worst enemy of man. We can see that in terrorism. For a number of weeks I have been travelling in the EU countries and all countries affected, where tackling terrorism is relevant. It is defending our vision of mankind.”
The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, wrote in The Guardian on Thursday to plead with UK MPs to vote in favour of airstrikes.