As France prepares to up its military offensive against ISIL in Syria with the arrival off the coast of its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its 36 planes, this week sees President François Hollande reinforce his diplomatic offensive as well.
He plans to have a series of meetings, in the wake of Friday’s UN resolution calling on all able members to fight against the Islamic extremists, to stitch together a grand coalition.
“I understand well that countries do not share the same interests, the same vision, even the same allies. But what is at stake is to put an end, to annihilate an army that threatens the entire world; not merely some countries versus others,” he said last week.
First up will be Britain’s David Cameron. In 2013 the prime minister tried and failed to get parliament to approve British airstrikes in Syria. Hollande meets with him in Paris on Monday, and it is likely that Cameron will attempt another vote later this week.
On Tuesday Hollande flies to Washington to talk with President Barack Obama, and then on Wednesday he will have dinner with Germany’s Angela Merkel in Berlin.
The final meeting in this diplomatic whirlwind will be in Moscow on Thursday with
President Vladimir Putin, who has already ordered his military to co-operate fully with the French.