U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Monday met with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Pentagon, vowing to strengthen cooperation between the two countries with the aim to fight against the Islamic State (IS).


Carter and Le Drian also held a joint news conference after their meeting, which focused on discussing efforts in fighting against IS.

Carter commended France for its commitment in the fight to deliver a lasting defeat to IS, a campaign that both sides agreed requires a sustained long-term effort.

Earlier this year, France deployed its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the Persian Gulf to support counter-IS airstrikes, according to Carter.

The French air force continues to play a critical role after being the first to join the United States in striking IS targets in Iraq, the U.S. defense chief added.

U.S. forces will continue to support France in efforts with airlift and aerial-refueling capabilities, Carter pledged, stressing the partnership between France and the United States has long been instrumental to building lasting peace and prosperity.

Le Drian said that IS is no longer a terrorist group, but rather has morphed into a “terrorist army.” That change means IS has to be fought on multiple fronts, he said. IS now has the capability to act as a classical army, but also to have operations in urban areas and terroristic operations. “They can do all three at the same time.”
Le Drian also defended the coalition strategy against IS. “The repetition of strikes in Iraq allowed us to stabilize: not to win, but to stabilize the situation,” said the French defense minister, reiterating “It is a long-term job.”

According to a Pentagon statement, the two defense officials have also discussed how to further enhance intelligence sharing between two militaries for counterterrorism operations. Enditem


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