Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Obama: Paris Climate Summit is 'Rebuke to Terrorists'

He and French President Hollande on Tuesday reaffirmed the U.S. and France’s “unity of purpose” in defeating the Islamic State.

A meet­ing of world lead­ers to tackle cli­mate change next week will prove the world’s mettle in the face of ter­ror­ist threats, Pres­id­ent Obama said Tues­day.

“What a power­ful re­buke to the ter­ror­ists it will be when the world stands as one,” he said, “and shows that we will not be de­terred from build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for our chil­dren.”

El­ev­en days after deadly ter­ror­ist at­tacks rav­aged Par­is, Obama met with French Pres­id­ent Fran­cois Hol­lande at the White House to re­af­firm the two na­tions’ solid­ar­ity in the cam­paign against the Is­lam­ic State, the ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tion that claimed re­spons­ib­il­ity for the strike.

The Is­lam­ic State “poses a ser­i­ous threat to all of us,” Obama said. “It can­not be tol­er­ated, and it must be des­troyed, and we must do it to­geth­er.”

Hint­ing at op­pos­i­tion—from both Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats—to al­low­ing Syr­i­an refugees to re­settle in the U.S., Obama praised France’s move to wel­come 30,000 ad­di­tion­al refugees in­to the coun­try over the next two years. And he im­plied that the U.S. should fol­low France’s mod­el of “hu­man­it­ari­an duty.”

“An­oth­er part of be­ing vi­gil­ant, an­oth­er part of de­feat­ing ter­ror­ists like ISIL is up­hold­ing the rights and freedoms that define our two great re­pub­lics,” he said, us­ing an­oth­er name for the ter­ror­ist group. “And that in­cludes free­dom of re­li­gion. That in­cludes equal­ity be­fore the law. There have been times in our his­tory, in mo­ments of fear, when we have failed to up­hold our highest ideals and it has been to our last­ing re­gret. We must up­hold our ideals now.”

Hol­lande said that in their meet­ing be­fore the news con­fer­ence, he and Obama de­cided to scale up U.S. and French strikes in Syr­ia and Ir­aq. They also pledged to strengthen their in­tel­li­gence shar­ing. While it’s dif­fi­cult to de­term­ine wheth­er at­tacks like those in Par­is could have been pre­ven­ted, Obama con­ceded that “we can do a bet­ter job co­ordin­at­ing between coun­tries.”

Obama heads to Par­is on Sunday for the in­ter­na­tion­al cli­mate-change sum­mit, but Hol­lande, a self-de­scribed war­time pres­id­ent, wanted to meet with him be­fore then to urge him to co­oper­ate with Rus­sia in ef­forts to des­troy the Is­lam­ic State.

The White House is loath to en­gage in any co­ali­tion with Rus­sia as long as Mo­scow con­tin­ues to sup­port the re­gime of Syr­ia’s Bashar al-As­sad, whom the U.S. and France have in­sisted must be re­moved from power. But Obama did leave open the door for work­ing with the coun­try.

“Rus­sia is wel­comed to be part of this broad-based co­ali­tion that we have set up,” he said. “The chal­lenge has been Rus­sia’s fo­cus on prop­ping up As­sad rather than fo­cus­ing on ISIL.”

Both lead­ers de­clined to of­fer a time frame for when As­sad would be de­posed, though Hol­lande de­clared “it must be as soon as pos­sible.”

Com­plic­at­ing Hol­lande’s ef­forts to broker a co­ali­tion among France, Rus­sia, and the U.S. was the news Tues­day that Tur­key had shot down a Rus­si­an war­plane. While Turk­ish of­fi­cials main­tained that the jet vi­ol­ated the coun­try’s air­space along its bor­der with Syr­ia, Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin called the in­cid­ent a “stab in the back.”

Obama said the U.S. was “still get­ting the de­tails of what happened.” But he as­ser­ted that like every coun­try, Tur­key “has a right to de­fend its ter­rit­ory and its air­space.” His top pri­or­ity, he said, was mak­ing sure the situ­ation didn’t es­cal­ate.

He also offered ex­pres­sions of sup­port for the French people, say­ing that by his bed in the White House res­id­ence he keeps a photo of him­self with first lady Michelle Obama shar­ing a kiss in Par­is’s Lux­em­bourg Gar­dens.

“So when tragedy struck that even­ing, our hearts broke, too,” he said. “In that sta­di­um and con­cert hall and those res­taur­ants and cafes, we see our own. In the face of the French people, we see ourselves. And that’s why so many Amer­ic­ans have em­braced the blue, white and red, and that’s why Amer­ic­ans had candle­light vi­gils, have joined to­geth­er to sing ‘La Mar­seil­laise.’ We’ve nev­er for­got­ten how the French people stood with us after 9/11, and today we stand with you.”

On Monday, Hol­lande met with Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Dav­id Camer­on in Par­is, and he is sched­uled to travel to Mo­scow after his meet­ing with Obama. He also has plans to meet with the lead­ers of Ger­many, Italy, China, and Canada.

But of all the world lead­ers, Hol­lande noted that Obama was the first to call him after the ter­ror­ist at­tacks, around 2 a.m. in Par­is.

“It is true that [after] 9/11, we all felt Amer­ic­an,” Hol­lande said. “But after the 13th of Novem­ber, Amer­ic­ans felt French.”