Readout of Secretary Hagel's Meeting with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian this afternoon the Pentagon.
Secretary Hagel commended Minister Le Drian for France’s decisive actions in Mali and for their extensive cooperation in the broader Sahel region.
Secretary Hagel conveyed that the United States will continue to provide aerial refueling in support of French operations to deny a terrorist safe haven in Mali.
Secretary Hagel congratulated Minister Le Drian on the release of the 2013 French White Paper on Defense and National Security. The paper affirmed France's commitment to a strong North Atlantic Treaty Organization and increased European security cooperation. The Department of Defense looks forward to continuing to work with the French Ministry of Defense to address the shared security challenges identified in the paper.
The leaders also discussed the crisis in Syria and the importance of U.S. and French cooperation on diplomatic efforts and contingency planning.