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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in UN General Assembly

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in UN General Assembly

Published on September 23, 2013
Laurent Fabius and Large French Delegation in Week-Long Program

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will be in New York from September 22 to 28 for the 68th United Nations General Assembly. He will be accompanied by Pascal Canfin, minister delegate for development, and Yamina Benguigui, minister delegate for French-speaking communities. The foreign minister will present our objectives for this ministerial week to the press on September 23 at 11 A.M. at France’s Permanent Delegation to the United Nations.

In addition to Syria, to which I will certainly have the opportunity to return in response to your questions, our priorities for this week are as follows.

1) All of our regional priorities will be discussed in New York, including:

- the Sahel and Mali, at a high-level meeting on September 26 hosted by the UN secretary-general. Its objective will be to lay the foundations of the UN strategy developed at France’s behest, covering challenges relating to security, governance and development. Mr. Fabius is scheduled to give a press briefing.

- the Central African Republic, at a meeting on September 25 co-hosted by European humanitarian affairs commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos. At this meeting, all possible means will be examined to strengthen international efforts to respond to the crisis in the CAR. Mr. Fabius is scheduled to give a press briefing here as well.

- the Great Lakes region, at a high-level meeting on September 23 dealing with follow-up to the framework agreement signed on February 24 in Addis Ababa. That agreement was aimed at achieving a comprehensive political solution in the region.

- the Iranian nuclear issue, during a ministerial meeting of the E3+3 with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and on the occasion of a bilateral meeting between the foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart, Mr. Zarif. These meetings will offer an opportunity to stress the need for Iran to make swift, concrete gestures to respond to the international community’s concerns over its nuclear program.

- Lebanon, after the launch of the international support group established under the auspices of the UN secretary-general on September 25. The purpose of this group is to find ways to help Lebanon face the humanitarian, security and economic consequences of the Syria crisis.

2) This ministerial week will also enable France to advance its multilateral priorities:

- climate change, with a meeting on September 26 to prepare the Warsaw Conference (the so-called COP-19) being organized by the European Commission for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard and the Norwegian environment minister, Bård Vegar Solhjell. This is a priority ahead of the 2015 international conference on climate change (COP-21), which France is scheduled to host in Paris.

- sustainable development, with a meeting organized by France, Nigeria and the UNDP on innovative financing as a means to implement the post-2015 development agenda, as well as participation in the opening session of the High-Level Political Forum to boost sustainable development and the special event on follow-up efforts being made toward achieving the Millennium Goals.

- human rights, beginning with the campaign to universally abolish the death penalty—the theme of an event organized by France on September 27 with regional organizations as well as Costa Rica, Mongolia and Benin, which are all deeply committed to this issue. A press briefing with Laurent Fabius is scheduled. Women’s rights will also be discussed at a meeting with the executive director of UN-Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

3) As every year, the foreign minister will also meet with his foreign counterparts on the sidelines of these events.

At this point, meetings are scheduled with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Australia, Burundi, Chile, China, Egypt, Japan, Kuwait, Iran, Mauritania, Mongolia, Tanzania and the U.S. Laurent Fabius is also expected to meet with the Somali president and the secretary-general of the Arab League.

4) Bilateral meetings will also be held on the sidelines of the ministerial week. On September 25, Mr. Fabius will give a speech at Columbia University on French proposals for the future of Europe. On Monday morning, he will visit a bilingual school attended by 250 children in Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a growing number of French residents, and on Friday, he will inaugurate the French bookstore in New York on the site of the cultural center and which will be a showcase for French literary activity. As is traditional, the foreign minister will also meet with representatives of American Jewish organizations.

To promote our economic diplomacy, Laurent Fabius will meet nearly 80 French business leaders working in the U.S., along with foreign trade advisers, and will visit the Taste of France trade show whose aim is to promote French excellence in all sectors (innovation, high tech, lifestyles, tourism, luxury, culture, etc.). About a hundred exhibitors and 100,000 visitors are expected.

Finally, on September 26 at 7:30 P.M., Mr. Fabius will attend the traditional reception for the French-speaking community at the French Consulate, where he will be joined by the UN secretary general.

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