“The French policy towards the Islamic State is a failure. We gave Russia and Iran the freedom of action but could rather carry out this fight together with them," Fillon said during the pre-election debate, broadcast by TF1.
He stressed that France had to “determine its priorities” and share the burden with its European neighbors.
Far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, independent candidate and leader of the “En Marche!” movement Emmanuel Macron, the Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon and the leader of the left-wing political movement La France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France), Jean-Luc Melenchon, also took part in the debate.
The first round of the French presidential election is scheduled for April 23, while the run-off is set for May 7.