Spanish king, French president pledge to fight terrorism

Paris, June 3 (IANS) King Philip VI of Spain and French President Francois Hollande have decided to join forces in the fight against jihadi terrorism and enforce common ideals including climatic change and economic crisis, Spanish news agency Efe reported on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the first day of King Philip’s visit to France, both leaders put forward their ideas to work together towards a common future, always within the European framework, in two separate speeches at a gala dinner at the Elysee Palace with 200 French and Spanish guests.

The Spanish monarch offered his host the full backing of Spain to build a “common front” against jihadi terrorism, which, according to him, was the most cruel and insidious form of terrorism that resembled totalitarianism.

He also referred to the importance of maintaining bilateral cooperation in different fields.

“In this common project, France and Spain need each other. We share challenges and interests. We share values and convictions,” the king said.

King Philip recalled the recent jihadi attacks in Paris and Tunisia emphasising that the people of his country shared their suffering.

The joint collaboration will be marked by the reinforcement of transport and energy connections, continuation of cooperation in justice and home affairs and in the fight against drugs, human trafficking and illegal migration.

The French president said in his speech that France and Spain must join hands in serving their ideals and specifically cited the fight against terrorism, climatic change and economic crisis.

Hollande said the two countries must continue working closely in the field of safety after having been “put to the test” several times by jihadi terrorism.

He also thanked Spain for its military cooperation in Mali and the Central African Republic.

Before the dinner, the Spanish king awarded the Order of Civil Merit to 12 French citizens, including French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

The two leaders also toured the Champs-Elysees in the same car, escorted by 146 horsemen of the Republican Guard.

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