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Hollande tells Trump: ‘France will always be France’

Francois Hollande and other French leaders attend a mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on July 27, 2016 to pay tribute to the priest Jacques Hamel, killed in his church of Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray during an IS-claimed hostage-taking © POOL/AFP / Benoit Tessier

Rivesaltes, France, Jul 28 – French President Francois Hollande on Thursday brushed aside comments by White House hopeful Donald Trump that France was “no longer” the country it was because of a string of deadly jihadist attacks.

“France will always be France, because France will never yield and because France is always the bearer of ideals, values and principles, for which we are recognised throughout the world,” Hollande said in a speech in the southwest town of Rivesaltes.

A policeman stands guard while people arrive for a mass at the Rouen Cathedral, on July 27, 2016, to pay tribute to the priest Jacques Hamel, who was killed in an IS-claimed attack © AFP / Charly Triballeau

“When you lower your standards, you are no longer what you are. That’s something that may happen to others, on the other side of the Atlantic,” Hollande added, referring indirectly to Trump without naming him.

During a news conference in Florida on Wednesday, the US Republican presidential nominee brought up the murder of an elderly French priest, and said a friend who recently visited the country told him: “I wouldn’t go to France…. France is no longer France.”

“They won’t like me for saying that,” Trump added, “but you see what happened in Nice. You see what happened yesterday with the priest, who is supposed to be a spectacular man. France is no longer France.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had already reacted on Wednesday evening on Twitter saying France was still France and strong.

Both the truck attack July 14 in Nice that claimed 84 lives and the attack on the French church, in which two attackers slit the throat of 86-year-old priest Jacques Hamel, have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group.


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