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France, Australia Agree to Boost Anti-Terrorism Cooperation

© AP Photo / Steve ChristoAustralian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie pay their respect to the victims of the siege in Martin Place in Sydney central business district, Australia
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife Margie pay their respect to the victims of the siege in Martin Place in Sydney central business district, Australia - Sputnik International
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France and Australia are strengthening security cooperation in light of a December 2014 hostage crisis in Sydney staged by a self-proclaimed Islamic cleric, and the deadly Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris in January 2015.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — French President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed at a Monday meeting in Paris to step up counter-terrorism cooperation between the countries, the French president's office said.

“We have agreed to deepen the security aspects of our bilateral relationship, including our counter-terrorism cooperation and our shared efforts to deal with the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters,” the two leaders said in a joint declaration as quoted by French President's website.

According to the statement, the sides are strengthening security cooperation in light of a December 2014 hostage crisis in Sydney staged by a self-proclaimed Islamic cleric, and the deadly Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris in January 2015.

Hollande and Abbott acknowledged that the Islamic State poses a significant threat to global security.

“We reaffirm our commitment to working with our international coalition partners to disrupt, degrade and ultimately destroy it [IS].”

The new efforts will include strengthening intelligence cooperation between the two states and creating a program of exchanges for counter-terrorism police officers.

Australia in Mourning for Sydney Hostage Crisis Victims - Sputnik International
Australia in Mourning for Sydney Hostage Crisis Victims
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is a Sunni jihadist group that seized large areas in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The terrorist organization actively recruits foreigners urging them to join the fighting in the Middle East or conduct terrorist attacks in their home countries.

To curb the ISIL advance, a US-led international coalition, of which both France and Australia are members, began airstrikes in August 2014 against targets in Iraq. In September 2014 the air campaign was expanded to Syria.

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