French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Tuesday for international cooperation against extremism, saying Muslims have been the first victims of “terrorism”.
“No one fights under the name of religion,” Fabius told journalists in Kuwait, the first Muslim country he has visited since last month’s deadly attack by Islamist gunmen on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
When Kuwait and France fight “against terrorism, we fight those who are not only liars, but also killers,” he said. “Muslims have been the first victims of those terrorists.”
Fabius called for more solid international cooperation to rein out extremism saying that “this is a battle we should win.”
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah said Kuwait and France had “identical views on terrorism,” and reiterated Kuwait’s strong condemnation of the “brutal attacks in France,” a reference to Charlie Hebdo.
Sabah also warned that “terrorism is a threat for all of us,” and called for greater efforts to drain funding of radical groups and recruitment of fighters.
Fabius said France looks to Islam as a moderate religion and stressed that French authorities will apply the law firmly against any acts against Islam or Muslims.
On the Iranian nuclear programme negotiations, Fabius said any deal must ensure that the Islamic republic does not own a nuclear weapon.
He expressed opposition to imposing new sanctions on Tehran, saying “it would be counter-productive to add sanctions to those already in place.”
The French chief diplomat was received by Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and other senior Kuwaiti officials.
Earlier in the day, he inaugurated part of the Al-Zour North Power Plant, 100 km (62 miles) south of Kuwait City, being built and managed by French company GDF Suez in an alliance with Japanese and Kuwaiti firms.
The $2.5 billion (2.2 billion euro) facility was one of two mega projects won by French firms in Kuwait in the past two years. The other was the sale of 25 Airbus planes for more than $4 billion.
Speaking to Kuwaiti businessmen at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Fabius called for upgrading French-Kuwaiti economic ties to the level of “excellent political relations.”
He also announced France will now grant visas to Kuwaitis within 48 hours.