French PM says state of emer­gency likely to be ex­tended

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls said yes­ter­day that the country’s state of emer­gency, im­posed af­ter last year’s Paris at­tacks, will likely be ex­tended as France gears up for pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. “It is dif­fi­cult to­day to end the state of emer­gency,” Valls told BBC tele­vi­sion as France marked ex­actly one year since the Novem­ber 13, 2015 ji­hadist at­tacks that left 130 peo­ple dead.

“Es­pe­cially since we are go­ing to be­gin a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in a few weeks with meet­ings, with pub­lic gath­er­ings. So we must also pro­tect our democ­racy,” Valls added in the in­ter­view with the BBC’s HARDtalk pro­gram. “Be­sides, this state of emer­gency de­vice al­lows us to make ar­rests, ad­min­is­tra­tive checks which are ef­fec­tive... So yes, we are prob­a­bly go­ing to live a few months more with this state of emer­gency.”

The state of emer­gency was in­tro­duced on the night of the Paris at­tacks and ex­tended for six months in late July. While stress­ing he re­mained “very cau­tious”, Valls said the risk of sim­i­lar co­or­di­nated at­tacks ap­peared to have di­min­ished.”But we may face at­tacks of the kind that we saw in Nice,” he said, re­fer­ring to the July at­tack in the Riviera re­sort in which a 31-year-old Tu­nisian mowed down 86 peo­ple in a truck.”That’s to say some in­di­vid­u­als who are driven di­rectly by the in­ter­net, by so­cial net­works, by the Is­lamic Sate group, with­out hav­ing to go to Syria or Iraq.”

Mean­while, on the sep­a­rate sub­ject of a pos­si­ble rene­go­ti­a­tion of the 2003 Le Tou­quet ac­cords which ex­tend the Bri­tish border to Calais’ ferry ports, Valls made a plea for co­op­er­a­tion.”We can al­ways change a treaty, but if to­mor­row we were say­ing that there was no agree­ment, that there was no longer a treaty, and that the border was open, there would be thou­sands and thou­sands of peo­ple who would con­verge on Bri­tain, that would be a drama in the Chan­nel and a ma­jor prob­lem for Bri­tain,” he said. “That re­ally shows that we need co­op­er­a­tion.” The com­ments come af­ter France last month de­mol­ished the no­to­ri­ous Jun­gle mi­grant camp in Calais, where thou­sands of peo­ple had been liv­ing in squalid con­di­tions hop­ing to stow away on trucks headed to Bri­tain.

Un­der the Le Tou­quet agree­ment, Bri­tain pays mil­lions of Eu­ros each year for se­cu­rity in Calais but it is French po­lice and border agents who are on the front­line. Many French politi­cians be­lieve Lon­don has sim­ply out­sourced a prob­lem to France and the agree­ment should be torn up. The lead­ing can­di­dates hop­ing to rep­re­sent the right in next year’s race for the French pres­i­dency have called for the Le Tou­quet deal to be rene­go­ti­ated, with fron­trun­ner Alain Juppe call­ing last month for the Bri­tish border to be shifted back across the Chan­nel. — AFP

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