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Biden Praises French Military's 'Incredible Competence and Capability'

1:27 PM, Feb 4, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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After a meeting today in Paris with the French president, Francois Hollande, Vice President Joe Biden praised "the incredible competence and capability" of the French military. He was specifically referring to the recent military action taken by the French in Mali.

Official portrait of President Obama and Vice President Biden 2009

"And as the [French] President indicated, we discussed an array of issues starting and including Mali and North Africa more broadly.  And let me say again on behalf of the President, the people of the United States, we applaud your decisiveness and I might add the incredible competence and capability of your French military forces," said Biden. 

The vice president then told a story to illustrate the "competence and capability" of the French military.

"I often tell the story -- I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq an awful lot, several dozen times; and I remember the first time I was in a forward operating base up in the hills above the Kunar Valley, the mountains.  And I asked early on in the campaign, before I was Vice President -- I asked my -- the six Americans who I was standing with who they enjoyed standing most together with," said Biden. "And one young man said, 'the Tricolors, the French.'  And 'they know how to shoot straight' was his expression.  You have a brave and competent -- and I say to the Minister of Defense -- competent military.  And your decisive action is not only in the interest of France, but quite frankly the United States and everyone."

On Afghanistan, Biden added, "Our conversation also ventured into Afghanistan where we have stood together in a stalwart way.  We reviewed our strategic vision, how to secure and stabilize Afghanistan."

Biden added, "President Hollande and I also reminded one another of the firm commitments of all NATO leaders in Chicago to both sustain NATO’s mission in Afghan post-2014 and to remain in incredibly close contact as to how to proceed."

The two met for lunch at a palace in Paris.

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