French President Francois Hollande promised on Wednesday that “France will remain a country of freedom,” defending his decision to honor a commitment to accept migrants and refugees despite Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
“Life should resume fully,” Hollande told a gather of the country’s mayors who gave him a standing ovation, ABC news reported. “What would France be without its museums, without its terraces, its concerts, its sports competitions?”
“France should remain as it is. Our duty is to carry on our lives.”
Hollande said, “30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment,” adding that incoming refugees will undergo vigorous security checks.
At least two of the attackers in a series of shootings and suicide bombings that left 129 dead and 352 wounded in Paris on Friday entered France via Greece among Syrian migrants.
Hollande acknowledged that “some people say the tragic events of the last few days have sown doubts in their minds,” but said France had a “humanitarian duty” to help those people, although it is a duty that will go hand in hand with “our duty to protect our people.”
“We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values,” Hollande said.
Before making these statements, Hollande responded to the terrorist attacks by vowing France will be “ruthless” in its response and adding that France would increase its military efforts to crush ISIS and be “merciless” against the jihadists.
Since the attacks, 34 U.S. governors have declared they will not allow Syrian refugees to settle in their states, despite having no legal authority to bar migrants.