). The defense ministers of France and the United States agreed Sunday on “concrete steps” to intensify cooperation against the Islamic State group, the Pentagon said.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian discussed by telephone the actions they are taking in response to Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people.
“They agreed on concrete steps the US and French militaries should take to further intensify our close cooperation in prosecuting a sustained campaign against ISIL,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.
“Secretary Carter reiterated the firm commitment of the United States to support France and move together to ensure ISIL is dealt a lasting defeat,” he said.
The statement provided no details on the measures to be taken. But US officials said they would build on coordination already being handled by a French two-star general at the US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East.
France already takes part in a US-led campaign of air strikes against Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
The US deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said the United States and France also will be intensifying intelligence sharing.
The international response to the attacks was the focus of a summit in Turkey Sunday that includes US President Barack Obama, who vowed that the United States would stand by France and “redouble” efforts against IS.
If France invokes Article V of the NATO treaty, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all, the United States would “absolutely” support it, Rhodes said on CNN’s State of the Union.