French President Francois Hollande reportedly will call on President Barack Obama to step up military action against the ISIS terror group when the two leaders meet in Washington next week.
Hollande will meet with Obama on Nov. 24, eleven days after a series of shootings and bombings in Paris by ISIS terrorists killed 129 people and injured more than 350 others. A European diplomat told the Guardian newspaper that Hollande is expected to impress on Obama the necessity of stronger action against ISIS.
"The message that we want to send to the Americans is simply that the crisis is destabilizing Europe," the diplomat told The Guardian. "The problem is that the attacks in Paris and the refugee crisis show that we don’t have time. There is an emergency."
Obama's strategy against ISIS has come in for increasing criticism in the wake of the Paris assaults, with critics seeing the use of a relatively small number of air strikes as feckless.
"Thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets have conjured the illusion of progress, but they have produced little in the way of decisive battlefield effects," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday, using another acronym for the terror group.
But Obama's new chief military adviser, Gen. Joseph Dunford, defends a U.S. approach focused heavily on avoiding killing civilians, saying "we are fighting the long fight, and for us to do otherwise would be shortsighted."
In a speech to French mayors Wednesday, hours after a commando raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis targeted the alleged ISIS mastermind of the Paris massacre, Hollande emphasized that his country was "at war against terrorism, terrorism which declared war on us.
"It has an army. It has financial resources. It has oil. It has a territory," Hollande said. "It has allies in Europe, including in our country, with young, radicalized Islamist people. It committed atrocities there and wants to kill here. It has killed here."
Following his meeting with Obama, Hollande is scheduled to travel to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Nov. 26. Earlier this week, Hollande urged the U.S. and Russia to come together in what he called "a wide and single coalition" against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which he called "the biggest terrorist factory the world has ever seen."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made similar comments in a radio interview Thursday, in which he called ISIS "a monster", adding, "If all the countries in the world aren't capable of fighting against 30,000 [ISIS members], it's incomprehensible ... we need to harness all our efforts in the fight against [ISIS]."
However, any such hopes by the French government are likely to be dashed by the the ongoing disagreement between Washington and Moscow over the future of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The Obama administration has repeatedly called for Assad to be removed from office, while Russia recently launched military action in support of Syrian government forces.
On Thursday, Obama restated his belief that Assad "cannot regain legitimacy," adding that it was unimaginable that Syria's civil war can be stopped without Assad leaving power. Obama said Russia and Iran, Assad's two key international allies, must decide whether they want to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad or "save the Syrian state" by backing a new government.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.