President François Hollande praised the French people's response to the recent terrorist attacks and touched on controversial plans to strip dual nationals of French citizenship in terror cases as he delivered his traditional New Year address.
In a televised speech from the Elysée Palace on Thursday, Hollande said he was "proud" of the "solidarity and composure" displayed by his fellow citizens throughout a gruelling year marked by deadly terrorist attacks.
"France is not done with terrorism", the Socialist president warned, noting that the terror threat "remains at its highest level".
Even as he spoke, more than 100,000 police officers were on duty across the country for the New Year's Eve celebrations, including 11,000 in Paris alone.
Hollande's address came six weeks after jihadist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in coordinated assaults on Paris nightspots, in the country's worst ever terrorist attacks.
"These tragic events will remain for ever etched in our memories, they shall never disappear," he said. "But despite the tragedy, France has not given in. Despite the tears, the country has remained upright."
'Attacking the roots of evil'
Hollande vowed to continue France's military campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq, which claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
"My first duty is to protect the French people," Hollande said. "That means attacking the root of the evil, in Syria and Iraq. That is why we have intensified our air strikes against Daesh," he said, using an Arabic term for the IS group.
"The hits are taking their toll, the jihadists are in retreat, so we will continue as long as necessary," he added.
Hollande also touched on the heated debate over plans to strip dual nationals of French citizenship if convicted of terrorism, which has driven a wedge through his ruling Socialist Party.
Describing the debate as "legitimate", the French president urged lawmakers to make "the right choice and overcome partisan divisions" when they vote on whether to enshrine the measure in France's constitution in February.
Date created : 2015-12-31