French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Thursday "conditions are coming together" to eradicate the Islamic State group.
He noted caution in his message on France Info radio, but said that for the first time he is optimistic.
France is part of the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in both Iraq and Syria, while local forces and allied groups fight the militants on the ground.
Le Drian said Islamic State has lost 30 to 40 percent of its territory since June 2014. He also highlighted the coalition's goal of pushing the militants out of Iraq's northern city of Mosul and the group's de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria by the end of the year.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a CBS News interview aired Monday that his expectation for the end of 2016 is that conditions will be in place for the eventual recapture of Mosul.