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tv   French Defense Minister  CSPAN  October 20, 2017 10:02am-11:05am EDT

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understand how that connects with the rules on discrimination. it sounds a lot like discrimination. >> we been tested on not numerous times and we are never accused of discrimination during the life of the program. what you are referring to about my desire to raise those limitations that were in hepa, hepa originally allowed a 20% premium differential based on behavior, and if you look at something like smoking, the impact that. >> this hearing on healthy lifestyles is available on our website cspan.org. we are leaving it here as the french defense minister will be talking about her country's national security strategy and collaboration with the international community to combat terrorism. >> good morning. welcome to the center for strategic and international studies.
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my name is heather comley, i am senior vice president here at csis and have the privilege of leading our europe research. we are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome her excellency, minister for the armed forces of france. she accepted her responsibilities on june 21 of this year so four months into the job, and as she arrived here in washington, france has produced its strategic review of defense and national security, a document that i certainly encourage all to read because as one of america's closest military security and foreign policy partners, this document articulates some of the great challenges of our time and the french priorities and how to focus on those. before i welcome the minister to the podium, the minister has had such a distinguished
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career in public service, serving as a senior budget advisor but also holding very senior positions at air france and the state owned railroad company. the minister knows logistics and brings that skill set to the ministry. before i turn this over to her, i want to pause for a moment. i would like to reflect over the events of the past few weeks. on october 4, many americans awoke to the news that we had u.s. forces that were on a counterterrorism operation and great and strong cooperation with france and its counterterrorism operations we learned that as the tragic death of four u.s. green beret soldiers were lost, the first aircraft on the scene were
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french military aircraft and helicopters. i think this is a moment in time to reflect that it is our greatest allies and partners that are there when we need them most just as much as french aircraft flew over the sky after the 911 terrorist attack. these are moments to reflect and that's why this conversation is so important that the minister is here to help us understand their strategic defense and national security priorities. with that, on this beautiful fall day, please join me in welcoming her. [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much to see sis for hosting today and sorry for my voice which is not completely back, but better than yesterday.
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your institution is one of the most highly regarded in a city that has many. i am well aware that for the past six years, see sis has been the world's number one think tank for international security by the think tank index and your analysis. [inaudible] i should also add, as a statement of interest, that we have a fantastic operation with you. some french diplomats serving as temporary fellows at csis and this sort of cross organization between administration and academia, which is not so frequent back in france, is of immense value. in a word, thank you for being so good.
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think tanks have a particular relevance today. when i look at the world today, i see the middle east widespread terror, refugee crisis, tension in the east and the occasional nuclear test or ballistic missile flashing by. i see a lot of tank, but not much think. our world is transitioning to an unknown place. it is difficult to read and your work is more important than ever. being a practitioner, rather than an analyst, i will spare you a lengthy in introduction but i would like to say a few
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words about what i have in mind coming here to d.c. as a new minister for the armed forces of france. first, we have an all weather friendship with america. we have been friends for a long time and we will remain. yesterday was marking the 236 anniversary of the yorktown victory. our friendship is one of the heart and of the mind. of the heart because the french will never forget what america did for us when we were in distress. but the mind because because for nation like ours, with democratic values and shared interests in an increasingly
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unstable world, it is necessary to cooperate. commentators may well expand on whether france agrees with the current administration on climate, on trading or the like, but the bottom line is there has scarcely been a time when our two nations have been closer in military plans. we are side-by-side in the fight against terrorism. i have seen this with my own eyes. we are also engaged together in all the visible and not so
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visible reassurance activities on the nato's eastern flank. all this attests that france is serious, capable and committed ally. at the core of our partnership is the awareness that france and the united states share both similar security interests and common strengths and that we can best confront them together. this is true today and will be as true, if not more so tomorrow. france has the intention to remain a serious and capable ally.
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under president mccown's guidance, my ministry is enduring financial buildup. inherited from the past, a strong bilateral alliance we enjoy today must be maintained into the future which will require the commitment of our two great nations, and i have no doubt that it will be the case. i will work as much as i can to develop it further. second, i am particularly honored to be here and to meet secretary matus. i've talked with him on a few occasions recently and i've been impressed by his
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authority, his charisma and his depth. i've also had an opportunity to meet with general mcmaster, members of congress, and to visit institutions of interest to me such as the sco and darpa and i place an emphasis on innovation in my own ministry. it is fascinating to come here as the representative of a new french administration. the administration of a new kind that we have not seen for a long time in our country. our president is the youngest head of state since napoleon.
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most of the government comes from civil society rather than from professional politics. gender is balanced and the president is set to reform the country thoroughly from labor laws to taxation and beyond. he is very strong on defense. he will increase our budget to 2% gdp by 2025. he has a very special interest in foreign affairs with ambitions plans and the power and diplomacy. he places enormous value on
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the transatlantic friendship. i believe you will see a lot of us in international affairs in the coming months. coming to substance, i would like to give a few thoughts about my priorities coming here today. the first is, how to defeat terror. we have an excellent corporation at all levels with the u.s. on this. we have made tremendous headway recently, but the challenges are daunting. in iraq we need to support the iraqi government and move away from sectarian politics. this will take time but we can see encouraging signs.
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we must also work to de-escalate current tensions with the kurds. in syria, there is much to do. we need to eradicate isis from its hideout in the river valley. there will come a time when the caliphate is no longer a geographic expression but an intention to kill. this will not be the end of the story. in syria we will still have critical issues to address before redeployment. we should make sure not to leave too much of a mess behind. this means avoiding four
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things. first a war with the kurds second, involving israel and lebanon, third, and unpunished use of chemical weapons, and lastly, a government a governance. [inaudible] i know it sounds simple but it's not. france is training 4000 military and a high-intensity environment with tremendous support from the united states. we are immens immensely grateful for that support. there has been strong
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achievements. terror groups are under pressur pressure, but much more needs to be done. [inaudible] we must be able to have african countries defeat terror on their own. the joint force is meant for that. it will start its first operation soon and it definitely need support. the un wants to give it support and i hope that everyone can become convinced that assistance is necessary. i would be happy if you all could help us pass the word in
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the best way. the youngest. [inaudible] we have a cooperation with the u.s. on terror and intelligence. i hope it will be strengthened. one day, perhaps all the untold stories of this corporation will be told and that day we will have reasons to be proud. two places come to mind. iran and north korea. on a rant, we have noted the statement, the leaders of france, germany, and the uk
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have reiterated the recommendation to stick to the gpo way and their willingness to address the ballistic missile program and regional activities. we need see poa. dropping out would be a gift to iran's hardliners and the first step to future wars. but, we should also be extremely serious about the destabilizing ballistic and regional activities. we are working on it. the issue is now in congress. france has no desire to be embroiled in u.s. domestic
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politics, but our position on the agreement is clear on north korea, we share u.s. concerns with recent developments. france has long been a european leader of sanctions against the d prk. we were instrumental in passing the latest package of eu measures, more pressure is necessary for any future negotiation to be meaningful. the question is, do sanctions come too late and how far is china willing to go? the third thing i have on my mind is how well we cooperate with the u.s. on nato and european security.
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we fully understand the u.s. insistence and we are on a clear path to contribute 2% gdp in defense expenses. believe me our 2% are not a headquarter percentage. they are a war fighting percentage. although, not all of our interest is in nato, it all contributes to nato security where our navy cooperates with the u.s. and france. beyond this, we strongly believe that europe must do more to defend themselves and it spirits, the french
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president recently decided to launch a europe initiative called a europe intervention initiative. they have also been key to the cooperation of the tractor corporation and the defense fund and i'll be happy to expand on it further. i would like to conclude with a slightly more global outlook, if i may. france has just concluded, as you just mentioned, the strategic review of security environment and the request of the french president. we faced growing security challenges in multiple areas around the world. this challenge calls for new thinking on how to best assure our current security which is
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why we launched new strategic review this assessment will serve as the basis for the multi- year defense programming that we will establish for the next five years. what i would like to give you on some of its findings. the only thing i can say. [inaudible] the risk we identify now in our 2013 white paper materialized more than expected. europe places great challenge since the end of the cold war.
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as a result, france has exposed its armed forces are fully committed, if not overstretched. french forces are currently committed. in response to these terrorist organizations, we lead a military effort to counter terrorism in malley and help stabilize the country. we also anticipate in the us-led coalition against isis and french forces are also heavily committed on our national territory,
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participating directly in the protection of the homeland as latest terrorist attack reminded everyone three weeks ago in marseille, france. all of that is well-known of you. beyond this commitment, the review clearly states that we must remain vigilant in for other regions of concern. the falcons -- the balkans, sub-saharan africa that requires preventive actions, the mediterranean sea where we see the convergence of security issues such as migration and terroristic activities, and the concentration of military assets by non-western
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countries in the sea. finally, asia. several arms races are taking place. they are involving, in some case, nuclear weapons, even though this crucial region doesn't have any credible security architecture. the environment is more unstable and more unpredictable. there is a worrying tendency to challenge and to weaken international norms. our environment is sometimes at stake with state and nonstate actors having increasing access too. [inaudible]
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we expect future operations to be more difficult and more costly. to address a growing number of common challenges, france must have two objectives. one to preserve our strategic. [inaudible] and second, to help build a stronger europe and stronger alliance, preserving our strategic economy we are required to renew both components of our nuclear deterrent, also to devote appropriate efforts in terms of knowledge, anticipation and intelligence, and to retain a full-spectrum and balanced military. in particular, french forces should be capable of action
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with respect to nuclear deterrence. the protection of our home military and its approaches as well as for intelligence command of control, special operations. [inaudible] new investments should focus on key capabilities and elements of readiness, intelligence, control, as i've mentioned a second ago. i also want to point out that retaining certain key capabilities such as nuclear deterrence and a full spectrum military provides legitimacy and credibility that are critical to forge partnerships and uphold the responsibilities of a framework nation. by the same rationale, france
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must remain a major technological power with a solid defense industry and technological base. harnessing innovation from the commercial sector will be key to preserving our military priority in the long run. it is one of my key priorities as minister for armed forces. however, facing such future challenges, france cannot do everything alone. we would like to see europe strengthen based on the number of security interest we share with our european partners. accordingly, we support all
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ongoing eu and nato initiatives such as the one i mentioned earlier, provided that they deliver actual results. all this will require financial effort. i mentioned we were on a path to 2% expenses. next year already, france will raise its budget by over 1.8 billion. i know it is probably less than the pentagon, but in france, this is a significant high% increase and what i would like to conclude of this, don't under estimate
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those single-digit, from what i've seen in the sout south, when you invest in the french military you really get a bang for your buck. thank you for your attention. i am ready for your questions. [applause] >> madam minister, we got a lot of bank out of our buck for those wonderful comments. colleagues, before you do it, i am totally feeling the phrase, more tank than think, but we put a lot of think into think tank so thank you very much. what we will do with the time we have is i may pose a few questions and then we have a fantastic audience that i know
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has some additional questions from that very rich offering that you just provided us. i would like to start with your fire in the middle east. in some ways, we are about to be the victim of our success. as the anti- isis coalition, the victories in iraq are now moving toward other places, we have two challenges as i see them and welcome your thoughts. clearly we still have foreign fighters who are being squeezed, but they have to go somewhere. you had expressed very strong comments a week or so ago about the french citizens that are foreign fighters in syria and how to address that challenge and the terrorism and homeland security part of it. my second question is what does syria look like? we will have an aside regime that controls a portion of syria with russian air
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support, iranian ground support, is that what we are willing to accept? in president vladimir putin's comments about the normative regime and nuclear weapons, putting that into question, what is the syria we want after we are successful? >> that is a difficult question. first of all my statement about the remaining terrorists in syria was probably a bit strong and not the most diplomatic way. i'm quite new in the job so sorry about that. i think we have been committed in this area, along with the coalition for some years now. we are fighting terrorists and
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we couldn't care less and the fact that there are french or syrians, or whatever, they are terrorists threatening us, threatening europe, threatening muslims as well. my statement was to say we are combating everyone and if this fight is successful, that is good news. now, back to your question, syria is probably the most difficult spot, as you said if the kurds issue is on stabilize stabilized, but probably if that's the case,
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iraq will be able to take steps to reunify the country. it will take time. in syria, we don't know. we don't know because the country has been completely destroyed and the regime is progressing on the west part of syria and we know that after this. there will be a political one and we don't know what will happen. it's been very clear that we have nothing to say, but we are absolutely convinced that this country needs political solution and this political solution is probably one of
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those key issues we will discuss with secretary mattis because we need to share a common vision about what comes next for the coalition and if the coalition were to change. [inaudible] >> we are going to keep working on those. we appreciate your comments. let me turn to europe. i understand what strategic economy means in the french sense of the nuclear deterrent and your ability for full-spectrum. we now, the european union is using that term now, it has been adopted in the global strategic economy and present macron mentioned that in his
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speech, but i'm having a hard time understanding what strategic economy means within the european union setting. does this mean they can act independently from nato, from the u.s. and counter purposes? i put that as a reflection because i think many in washington didn't fully appreciate after the horrible terrorist attack in paris, a invoked article 42.7, it's never been invoked about the eu defense. did invoking that do what the french government wanted it to do? it was a message of solidarity. did it quit a european intervention initiative, did it put eu defense into the mix? help us understand. i think there's confusion. >> first of all, for the time being, there is a growing
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conscience within the european member state that their security is at stake and europe as an entity is also at stake from terrorists. there is a moment, a very positive moment to trigger a new effort on the european defense policy. this is a concept where it was thoroughly discussed in the past but i was not there at the time. now it is getting more and more of a reality. we may, collectively major steps are mentioned in the
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european descent is something completely new that was on conceivable a few years ago probably. europeans do consider now that their security is something to be looked at and they have to take care of it. that's the first point. the second one is about that president macron would like to create solidarity between all countries who are willing and able to go to the battlefield because they would consider it as necessary. for the time being, this is something that is a very long
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process. the processes are not yet completely set. his initiative meant that yes we want to have a quick and operational process to put together different european military forces if there is a need for it, and you mentioned asking for solidarity and tomorrow, if we were to rate such an operation, ideally we would like to do it not alone, asking them for solidarity but from doing it with other
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countries who are willing and able. >> i know this is new, it's still being formed, it's potentially very exciting. i'm wondering as the migration crisis continues to roll politically, could this european intervention initiative or this type of readiness, could it be used for a more robust border security prevention of smugglers and traffickers that seems to be such an important issue in europe initially grappled with how too do that in a collective way, border security as a national competency but it needs to be shared. >> yes, it needs to be shared.
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[inaudible] we have to work together to take into account their own security. that's what we are doing with the support of the u.s. and others. if we don't succeed in implementing a powerful and efficient military force, then we will not be efficient. it is also to control the borders and the force will be allowed to go back and forth
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the borders to make sure we can track it efficiently traffics and terrorists. it is huge work, and for sure president macron, with strong benefits from alliance, we will never defeat so we need a low-cost initiative. we need your support as a community to help understand that this is not just money poured on the sand. it is something that will happen and the the operation that is prepared in the coming days will be training to
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demonstrate that this is possible. >> it is such a critical test. >> yes it is. >> last question before we turn to the audience but i think one thing you and secretary mattis conjointly talk about is the challenge of readiness. i talk about that looking at the map that the ministry provided, over 30,000 french forces deployed worldwide. you mentioned 4000 are in high-intensity situations. if i understand correctly, please challenge me on this, over 10% of the french military actually deployed internally to france to provide the necessary security aspect against terrorist acts. this is a huge challenge of just maintaining that
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operational tempo, that readiness. as you mentioned in the strategic review, the real challenge, the average lens of operations are 10 - 15 years. we don't budget for ten to 15 years. four months, as you look at the enormity of this challenge, where are your priorities in the readiness and making sure that the french military forces that want necessarily designed to guard churches and train stations, but they maintain that level of readiness so they can be rapidly deployed if required. >> that is true. we have up to 10000 people, soldiers, protecting homeland territory. what we decided a few weeks ago is to redesign the process because we have to protect stations permanently but we also have to be more flexible and ready to intervene
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wherever it's necessary and whenever. we have to work on mobility and that matches completely with what our soldiers ask for. they are not trained exactly to remain stable. they are trained to run and use the force and so they know this is necessary so we tried to make the best use of this force because it has costs, of course, and we have not a huge army like the u.s. has, and we have to be present in our
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national territory but also very much present and with lasting presence and ready. we will discuss how we can do that with general matus when we are working together. >> absolutely. thank you. >> holly, let me welcome you into this conversation. if you could raise your hand and identify yourself and your affiliation. please keep your questions short so we can take as many as possible, and please, the microphone, please speak very directly and clearly into the microphone. i will go across this way. if we can have a microphone over here please. keep your hands up so we can see. thank you. we'll start right here. please stand up and give us your name. >> thank you for being with us
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despite your cold. i am diana from the wood row wilson institute for scholars where we also received french scholars. my concern, listening to your words is that the european defense initiative would appear to be an alternative to nato. you have the 27 or 28 members, but this new initiative would exclude turkey and the united states. what assurance can you give to us that you are not setting up an alternative defense initiative. >> let's take several questions for this one right beside. >> hello my name is megan donohoe with search for common ground. you mentioned president macron
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takes civil society very seriously. i was wondering how you would engage local civil societies with security arrangements. >> thank you. we will take one more and then will pause. >> i am assistant professor at the johns hopkins university of school of international studies. i had a question regarding the european international force and what mission would it be designed for and how it could build on the work that has been done on the framework concept of nato where we see uk led that gathers many eu member states, the netherlands, estonia, as well as the uk. think you. >> so is the eu defense plan an alternative to nato, how can we engage civil society
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more particularly in the sub-saharan area and is the european initiative, how can be combined with nato's framework nation concept, the joint expeditionary forces. you can tell there's a lot of interest in the european defense plan. >> i will be extremely short and will share a strong conviction. the eu initiative, coming from the eu are coming from france, asking for other european countries to go together, to be able to go together wherever they need is not undermining nato, not at all. why? because the day europe invests in its own protection and security, that day europe contributes even more to its
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commitment to nato. this is something which is completely, that can be combined and not be opposed so i have absolutely no doubt that this is not meant to undermine the nato commitment, not at all. this is just meant to be more efficient when as europe, we feel unsecured in parts of europe. we have to deal with those two constraints. the question about what the european initiative can do, at
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this stage i'm not yet able to give an example to provide, but as i mentioned, i am sure that in this european initiative, if it had existed when we started, i am sure this would have been a good example of what this initiative could have done if it had existed. now, this is a big operation. of course it could be a smaller one and what i've not mentioned in my answer is about the financing of it. i said europe is working hard and building a europe which is
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new, but it doesn't mean that europe is ready to finance all member states in their day-to-day operations abroad. this is also one very serious question at the european level. that's why president macron said we are financing that on our own but we would like very much to extend the financing to european contribution as well which means we should be able too. >> we have three questions in the back and then we'll have
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the minister give her closing remarks. right there. thank you. >> my name is andrew. i'm up reporter with politico. washington has been somewhat cool on the regional architecture project before but there is some suggestion that that the u.s. division might change on this. do you plan to talk about this topic with secretary mattis today, and you have any sense that momentum might be changing on this on the u.s. side? >> thank you. >> the morning. i'm in a piggyback on the last question, if you can talk more about what you want to discuss with general matus. also, you talked about the french defense industry as a key priority for you. are you talking more about weapon sales from french companies abroad? i know france is trying to sell warplanes to argentina and others things to argentina. can you talk more about that.
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>> and the final question. >> good morning. i'm from the embassy of italy. talking about the migration crisis in the mediterranean, do you see france working closely with italy to ensure saving lives and prevent migrant trafficking. >> three excellent questions. lots of questions on the g5 and perhaps if you want to preview some conversations you have a secretary mattis and then migration and bilateral population with italy. >> yes, i will discuss this with general matus. it is of utmost importance for us. am pretty sure general matus. [inaudible] he knows we are strongly committed and it is a very demanding fight and we need to
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find support everywhere weekend. i'm not sure it's important to discuss about the way to suppor support, so whatever comes from the un or from bilateral support that we already have from the u.s. that we would fight to increase, of course. the support comes. otherwise, five years from now, the situation that i would commend to you if you would invite me again. >> done.
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>> this situation has not made much progress in that we can't afford of course, because if we don't make progress, terrorists will. on the migration crisis we are with our italian allies. we are with them. i cooperate very efficiently with italy. i have extremely good relationships with my counterparts so i know that it is a specific place of concern for italy, but we are working also to find solutions, find ways to avoid both traffic and illegal migration and human
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beings, bad treatments that happen in this area. we are really close on this as well as all the others we discussed thoroughly about european cooperation within. so again, italy, germany, spain are our best support in europe to try to build this initiative that we try to promote. >> you want to say anything about your defense industrial component? we've seen a lot of vibrancy whether it's in india, argentina, other comments on that? >> much more than the american one we had, we definitely have
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this industry and we are proud of it because it is also the economy we are building every day and try to keep so, as any country, having a defense ministry, it's necessary. i would say it's a business model otherwise you need an enormous amount of money to get the abilities, the technologies that are needed today. so yes, sometimes we succeed in exporting our weapons and military systems. of course we have to be extremely cautious to them. is it safe to do it? do we comply with international rules?
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of course we have to do that, but it is set accordingly and we do our best to comply with them. >> matta minister, thank you so much. you gave really comprehensive and important thoughts and insight that have helped us understand greater french security priorities. thank you so much for your partnership :
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>> we thank you so much. you can think the minister as well. if everyone can please remain seated at the end we will depart the delegation out anderson's were out the door, please enjoy a a fantastic all weekend. so now with your applause, please think the minister for her time. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] spirit reuters reporting french president emmanuel macron said today work on selling britain's financial obligation to the eu when it leads was not even halfway done. he said work needs to be completed on the crucial issue of britain's exit bill and that discussions could not move to the next phase on the future relationship until the three divorce issues of citizens
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rights, the irish border, and financial settlement have been completed. a lot is in the hands of theresa may, he said, at a news conference at the end of an eu summit in brussels. >> the senate foreign relations committee will hear from defense secretary james mattis and secretary of state rex tillerson in a public hearing on the authorization for use of military force. another sign of the growing momentum on capitol hill for updating a 16-year-old war authorization authorization. the committee announced friday they will testify the evening of october 30 if the trump administration officials have told congress it is not seeking a new aumf but it would not oppose congress passing one. read more at the hill.com. later today a forum on recent supreme court rulings involving freedom of speech with attorneys and scholars. live coverage at 5 p.m. eastern on c-span. you can also watch online at
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c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. and federal reserve chair janet yellen speaks tonight at the national economists club dinner. live at 7:15 p.m. also on c-span, i can't online at c-span.org and on the radio out. >> when i first went in, it's a long story but i was barely able to get back to the surface, but then a bunch of them jumped in, and there's a picture which i'm sure you will show of them pulling out of the lake. you can see my arm is broken high, and, of course, once they pull me out they were not very happy to see me. >> why not? >> because i just finished bombing the place. and so it got pretty rough. broke my shoulder and hurt my
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knee again, but look, i don't blame them. i don't blame them. we are in war. i didn't like it, but at the same time when you're in a war and you are captured by the enemy, you can't expect, you know, to have tea. >> fifty years after his capture john mccain talks about the impact of the vietnam war on his life in the country sunday at six and 10 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> the second circuit court of appeals heard the oral argument. they'll decide whether sexual orientation discrimination is protected under title vii of the civil rights act. in 2010 daniel sardella skydive instructor

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