Hollande Seeks United U.S.-Russia Coalition Against ISIS; 'France Is at War'

French president calls for UN Security Council anti-terrorism resolution; says France will step up operations in Syria, 'the biggest factory of terrorists the world has known.'

Hollande arrives to deliver a speech at the Versailles castle, November 16, 2015.
AP

"France is at war," French President Francois Hollande said on Monday in an extraordinary address to both houses of parliament in which he called on the United Nations Security Council to rapidly issue a resolution against terrorism.

Hollande also told French parliamentarians that a single, large coalition was needed to fight in Syria. He said the United States and Russia needed to set aside their policy divisions over Syria, adding that he hoped to meet soon with President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin "to unify our strength and achieve a result that has been too long in coming."

"We need a union of all who can fight this terrorist army in a single coalition," he said.

The French president said France will step up strikes in Syria, where Friday's shootings and suicide bombings in Paris had been planned, describing the country as "the biggest factory of terrorists the world has known."

Hollande said Friday's attacks were decided and planned in Syria, organized in Belgium, carried out in France.

Hollande said the French constitution must be amended for crisis situations. He said French law must allow dual nationals to be stripped of their French citizenship if they were convicted of terrorism and that he wants dual nationals to be banned from entering France if they presented a "terrorism risk."

He also pledged to increase budgets for security forces and the army. "That will lead to higher spending, which I take responsibility for," Hollande said. 

Hollande said he would present a bill Wednesday seeking to extend a state of emergency — granting the police and military greater powers of search and arrest, and local governments the right to ban demonstrations and impose curfews — for another three months.

Hollande said France wanted more effective controls of the European Union's external borders to avoid a return to national border controls and the dismantling of the European Union.

"The faces of the dead people, of the wounded, of the families don't leave my mind," Hollande declared, after France and many allies observed a minute of silence in honor of the 129 killed and 350 wounded when Islamic State attackers targeted a soccer stadium, a rock concert and four nightspots Friday with assault gun fire and suicide bombs.

"In my determination to combat terrorism, I want France to remain itself. The barbarians who attack France would like to disfigure it. They will not make it change," Hollande pledged. "They must never be able to spoil France's soul."

However, he signaled a likely month-long security crackdown following security sweeps overnight in which police nationwide arrested 127 people and seized 31 weapons, including automatic firearms and a rocket launcher.