Macron Recalls French Nuclear Deterrent Protects Europe

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The French president is trying to reassure his allies after hinting a month ago that he would not react in the same way to a Russia nuclear attack on Ukraine

President Emmanuel Macron recalled on Wednesday that the French nuclear deterrent is protecting France and Europe, in a context of mounting tensions with Russia over its offensive against Ukraine and in the face of repeated threats from Vladimir Putin to resort to nuclear weapons in that conflict. .

The president explained that nuclear deterrence is “the backbone” of France’s security and that it rests on “simple and clear principles” that guarantee its “freedom of action” and protect the country against any aggression “of state origin” on are “vital interests”. ”

Today, much more than yesterday, France’s vital interests have a European dimension. Our nuclear forces contribute to the security of France and Europe by their very existence,” Macron said at the presentation of the review of the French defense strategy in the port of Toulon (southeast of the country).

Macron, in power since 2017, wanted to reassure his allies with these words after his recent statements cast doubt on the validity of France’s nuclear deterrent. The president hinted in an Oct. 12 television interview that in the event of a Russian tactical nuclear attack on Ukrainian territory, Paris would not respond with the nuclear weapon.

France is the only nuclear power in the European Union, after Brexit (the UK’s departure from the community club), and as such plays “a fundamental role in its security,” Macron said. Only three NATO countries (France, the United Kingdom and the United States) have nuclear weapons of their own, although Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey store U.S. nuclear weapons on their territory, according to the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

The president warned of “the risks of escalating” the war in Ukraine and that there will be “wider geopolitical rivalries” in the future. He therefore believed that it is essential to review France’s and Europe’s defense strategy to meet new challenges.

Macron expressed his wish that by 2030 France would remain “an independent, respected and flexible power” and “a power at the heart of European strategic autonomy with a strong Atlantic anchor”. The French president sees his country as “a balanced force that takes its responsibility and contributes, in reliable cooperation and solidarity, to the guarantee of multilateralism and international law.”

On the other hand, Macron this Wednesday, in consultation with his partners in the region, officially announced the end of the Barkhane operation in the Sahel. It was launched in August 2014 with the aim of fighting terrorism and insurgents in the African region of the Sahel and supporting the region’s weak armies in their fight against jihadists.

“It is not our vocation to remain indefinitely in the field of operations,” said the head of the Elysee, who believed that interventions should be “better time-limited” and respond to the needs of African armies. .

Operation Barkhane – carried out by the French armed forces with the participation of the armies of the five Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) – took part in 5,500 French soldiers. The French army began withdrawing from Mali three months ago, but some 3,000 French soldiers are still deployed in Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. Since this operation began nine years ago, 59 French soldiers have been killed in the Sahel.

Source: La Verdad

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