Sarkozy: Each terrorist murder boosts French determination

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President Nicolas Sarkozy declared Monday that Al-Qaeda's murders of French hostages only reinforced France's determination to fight terrorism, defending a failed rescue bid.

"France's position is that faced with terrorism there can only be strength, otherwise it is the safety of all of us that will be in danger," Sarkozy told reporters in Paris.

"If we start to be weak, we will never be weak enough for them. If we start to compromise, we'll never compromise enough. If we start to apologise, then no humiliation will be enough," he warned.

"Each time democracies have bowed their heads, they've paid a heavy price," he said, after he was asked whether he regretted ordering an attempt to rescue two young Frenchmen who were kidnapped in Niger.

"Each time a French citizen is murdered by terrorists, the determination of France to fight terrorism is reinforced," he said, three days after Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden demanded France pull out of Afghanistan.

Earlier this month, two 25-year-old Frenchmen kidnapped from a restaurant in the Niger capital Niamey were found dead in Mali after a failed attempt by French special forces to rescue them from an Al Qaeda convoy.

At his first news conference since the deaths, Sarkozy said it had been one of the most emotionally difficult episodes of his presidency, but insisted he had had no choice but to order the assault as the gang would not negotiate.

© 2011 AFP

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