Washington, DC, March 22, 2011
Piers MORGAN : Are the allies at odds over strategies in Libya? I’ll ask the French ambassador to the United States. Who’s really in charge? Joining the French Ambassador to the United States: Thank you for joining me. President Obama spoke to President Sarkozy to review the situation in Libya today. How that was conversation?
Ambassador: The conversation was great. And I must say that based on the values that our two countries share, the — France and the United States has been from the beginning of the crisis and all along the crisis I would say in very close coordination on the same page. And that’s exactly the case tonight as the phone conversation between President Sarkozy and President Obama well demonstrated.
Piers MORGAN : At no stage did the president Obama express any concern that the French planes went in apparently unilaterally on Saturday without actually getting express permission of America or the rest of allies?
Ambassador: Not at all. And for one simple reason is that we didn’t act unilaterally on Saturday. you know, according to all the information that we all have, there was an immediate threat against Benghazi, so we had to act, and that’s exactly what the French planes did this Saturday in full coordination. I would add, of course, with the allies. So in President Obama’s conversation with President Sarkozy, there was no reproach whatsoever. Quite the contrary, There was a strong affirmation of our joint determination to carry out the mission because we think we have the moral and political responsible to carry out this very important mission. We have already saved lives. And quite frankly, in Benghazi, when the French were the first to intervene, we saved many lives; maybe we saved the Libyan opposition itself. And since then, we continue day after day within the coalition and with the strong support of NATO, of course.
Piers MORGAN :Mr. Ambassador, do the French believe that Kadhafi is a legitimate target himself?
Ambassador: The short answer is no. and we’ve been very clear here from day one, we think Kadhafi must go.
Piers MORGAN :But if he’s going to go and you’re blowing up his compound, isn’t that sending a rather big signal that you think he is a legitimate target?
Ambassador: You know, Piers, if I may, we have to stick to the mission we have taken the best military means we have with the support of NATO. We have to stick to the mission; we have a clear mandate from the Security Council, a clear mandate to use all necessary means to protect the civilian population and look what is going on today! Again in term of leadership, Obama and Sarkozy are on the same page.
Piers MORGAN :Are you seeking regime’s change?
Ambassador: Again we have a clear mandate from the UN Security Council that is about protection of the civilian population, that’s one thing. Now if you are asking me “what is France’s ultimate goal” I will answer very quickly and very clearly: Kadhafi must go.