Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met with French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris today as the third stop in his European visit. In both meetings, Secretary Esper reaffirmed the importance of the defense relationships with France, the U.S.’s oldest ally.
In his meeting with Minister Parly, the Secretary emphasized the importance of our continued coordination to strengthen the security of both nations. The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, including the threat from China and Russia, the situation in the Persian Gulf and Syria, the cooperation of our armed forces, and ongoing efforts to work together to enhance global security.
Secretary Esper also encouraged continued French leadership in NATO and expressed appreciation for France’s commitment to increased burden sharing in the Alliance. The Secretary emphasized that the U.S. and France will remain global partners in the great power competition and against terrorist groups and other malicious threats.
Esper and Parly agreed to continue to work alongside each other [U.S. Special Forces and French Foreign Legion) to ensure Freedom of Navigation in contested waters and address destabilizing activities that threaten the rules-based international order.
Secretary Esper thanked his French hosts for their warm welcome and pledged a continued bond of friendship and cooperation.