Paris climate change treaty "irreversible" - François Hollande

French president François Hollande
French president François Hollande Reuters/Charles Platiau

The US "must respect" the commitments made under President Barack Obama, French president François Hollande said on 15 November at the COP22 climate summit.  


In an exclusive interview with RFI, France 24 and TV5 Monde at the UN's COP22 annual climate change conference held in Marrakesh until November 18, Hollande said that he had called US President-elect Donald Trump after the election held last week.

The call was "intended to appease what needed to be appeased", as Trump had expressed positions during the campaign which "have disturbed people", including on  climate change. Hollande said Trump was in "an attitude of wanting to have a dialogue" and France has a long-standing friendship with the USA and wants to have cooperation with America.

On the campaign trail, Trump said he wanted to pull out of the Paris Agreement (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in temperatures below 2° Celsius above their level in pre-industrial times), signed by some 190 countries last December and ratified by 100, including the USA.

Hollande said the move would harm the planet, as the USA is one of the main producers of greenhouse gases. But more importantly, it would also hit the country itself as "the world is not organised with barriers, barbed wire, and borders".

The Paris Agreement is "irreversible from a legal point of view", Hollande stressed.

Hollande explained that there was one specific point he and Trump had discussed: that fighting terrorism "should be our shared objective". He added that he believed the USA under a Trump presidency will remain in NATO. 

Hollande said that Trump did not answer when he asked him - in the face of Trump's praising Russian President Vladimir Putin and announcing his willingness to work with him - whether there might be a big shift in alliances or sanctions against Russia (over Moscow's role in Ukraine) would be lifted.

But, Hollande added, Trump was not in a position to answer as he has only been elected and there is a transition phase (before he is sworn in on January 2017).
Hollande said "a political solution must be found" for Syria, bringing to the negotiating table all sides involved, except the jihadists. He put at some 600 the number of French jihadists in Syria and Iraq, and at 220 those killed.

Hollande said he wants to extend the state of emergency until the next French presidential election scheduled for May next year.

On Trump's campaign statement that he wanted to tear up the nuclear treaty signed with Iran, Hollande said the agreement was "giving us guarantees, the absence of an agreement would be worse".

Besides, in the USA, the president does not decide by himself, Hollande explained. Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate may not share "necessarily the same objectives" as those listed by Trump during the campaign.

Answering a question on the political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (where RFI was taken off the air by the government), Hollande said the end of President Joseph Kabila's mandate in December, according to the country's constitution, must be respected.

Hollande said that all the information gathered through France's intelligence services on the murders of RFI journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon three years ago in Mali is passed on to the investigating judges.

Every time French citizens, French soldiers are targeted, "we seek out the culprits and we make sure they are neutralised".

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