French Ambassador reacts to Brussels attack while speaking in Charlotte

French Ambassador reacts to Brussels attack while speaking in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The French Ambassador to the United States reacted to terror attacks in neighboring Belgium during a speech Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte.

Gérard Araud spoke to a large group at the World Affairs Council of Charlotte.

The death toll from the explosions in Brussels continues to rise to 30, according to the Associated Press.

Araud knows all too well about the fear and uncertainty that is soon to follow.

"On one side we have to go back to the daily life, but on the other side we also have to be very careful," Araud said.

While speaking in Charlotte Tuesday, Araud said enemies like ISIS are going after young people and recruiting them to Syria.

"We have thousands of young Europeans who have gone to Syria, or are in Syria, and they are back from Syria, they are militarized, they are trained, they are radicalized," Araud said. "We have not identified all of them, so we do know that there are some sleeping cells and these people are ready to strike again."

The United States has recently prosecuted several young people for communicating and threatening to join groups like ISIS.

While Araud's heart is heavy for victims across the border in Belgium, he said the attack isn't surprising and believes more are possible.

For those who think closing French borders is the solution, the ambassador offered a warning.

"It's very difficult to do it. Try to imagine closing the borders between North Carolina and South Carolina, this is impossible. You can have some shake points, but people can cross the borders everywhere else," Araud said.

For Araud, the front line in the war on terror starts in Europe, where Araud says travel can be less restricted.

He said countries like the United States and France must find ways to stay ahead of any future attacks that threaten lives, peace, or sense of security.

"The French, we have been the first one to join the Americans for striking against ISIS. We have thousands of soldiers fighting the terrorists in Africa. Again, we are allies once more," Araud said.

During his speech in Charlotte, Araud took a few questions from crowd members and was introduced by Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

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