Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, February 13, 2013)

 

Iran – House arrest of Mr. Moussavi and Mr. Karroubi – Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Visit by Mr. Bernard Cazeneuve to Madrid (February 14, 2013)
Development of Mali – Statement by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development (February 12, 2013)
Saudi Arabia – Execution of two convicted persons (February 12, 2013)
Yemen/ Iran – Interception by Yemen of a shipment of arms presumed to be from Iran
Kenya



Iran – House arrest of Mr. Moussavi and Mr. Karroubi – Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Iranian people will today commemorate a sad anniversary for democracy and human rights.

The leaders of the Iranian opposition, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, have been under house arrest - deprived of their fundamental rights and freedoms - for two years now.

Since the post-election dispute in June 2009, which demonstrated the aspirations of the Iranian people for democracy, the crackdown and policy of intimidation against opposition figures, journalists and bloggers have continued.

France condemns this intolerable situation and calls on the Iranian authorities to honor their international commitments on freedom of opinion and expression, by immediately releasing all those who have been arbitrarily detained. I am thinking of the human rights defenders Nasrin Sotoudeh, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah and Abdolfattah Soltani, among many others, but also of the journalists who were imprisoned at the end of January.

These individuals defended, with courage and determination, the rights of their fellow citizens. They deserve our admiration.

 

Visit by Mr. Bernard Cazeneuve to Madrid (February 14, 2013)

Mr. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, will visit Madrid on February 14. He will have a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Mr. Íñigo Mendez de Vigo, in order to discuss the major European issues. The minister delegate will also be received at the Moncloa Palace, the Office of the President of the Spanish Government, in order to discuss international issues, such as Mali and Syria.

Mr. Cazeneuve and Mr. Mendez de Vigo will on this occasion review the implementation of the European Pact for Growth and Employment and the agreement reached at the European Council on February 7 and 8 on the EU budget. They will also discuss ongoing work on the banking union and the deepening of the economic and monetary union, as well as issues relating to EU expansion.

This visit is further evidence of the excellent relations between France and Spain and should highlight our converging views on the majority of responses to the challenges facing the euro zone and the EU as a whole.

Mr. Cazeneuve will also present France’s vision for the EU’s future to a panel of journalists and business leaders at a conference organized by Spain's New Economy Forum (“Nueva Economía Forum”).

 

Development of Mali – Statement by Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development (February 12, 2013)

On the occasion of the informal meeting of European ministers responsible for development in Dublin, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs and Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, announced that a conference on the development of Mali would take place in Brussels in the spring.

The purpose of this conference, which will be organized by the EU and France in close coordination with the Malian authorities, is to mobilize the international community in support of the development of Mali. It will also aim, in collaboration with the Malian authorities and the regional African organizations, to ensure the smooth coordination of the international community’s response.

Lasting security cannot be achieved in Mali without development. Re-establishing territorial integrity and implementing the political processes set forth in the road map must be associated with a new effort in support of economic and social development.

France is fully committed alongside the Malians to mobilizing the international community in support of this objective.

 

Saudi Arabia – Execution of two convicted persons (February 12, 2013)

France condemns the two latest executions on February 12 in Saudi Arabia, thus bringing the number of beheadings in this country since the beginning of the year to 12.

France again expresses its deep concern at the alarming rate of executions in Saudi Arabia. These executions contradict the global trend toward the abolition of this inhuman punishment, the deterrent value of which has never been established.

France is campaigning for the universal abolition of the death penalty and intends to be at the forefront of this struggle. As Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed, France expresses its firm and constant opposition to the death penalty everywhere and under all circumstances. It again urges Saudi Arabia to put an end to the executions and to establish a moratorium.

 

Yemen/ Iran – Interception by Yemen of a shipment of arms presumed to be from Iran

We are concerned following the interception on January 23 in Yemeni territorial waters of a shipment of arms, probably from Iran, reported by Yemen to the UN Security Council. UNSCR 1747 explicitly prohibits Iran from exporting arms to other countries. This shipment therefore constitutes a further violation by Iran of its international obligations.

France calls on the UN Sanctions Committee to immediately investigate the information provided to it by Yemen. In this respect, we commend Yemen’s effective cooperation and its resolute action. Iran must comply with its international obligations and the Security Council resolutions, and put an end to its activities that threaten the stability of the region and its neighbors.

 

Kenya

What do you think about the tensions in Kenya in the run-up to the general elections?

The general elections on March 4, 2013, represent a major challenge for Kenya which will celebrate its 50th year of independence this year. France hopes that these elections will take place under free, fair and peaceful conditions and that they can contribute to the reconciliation process initiated in Kenya.

Kenya is a key partner of France in East Africa; it makes an essential contribution to regional stability, notably in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. We therefore want to pursue our bilateral cooperation and our constructive dialogue on the major regional issues with the Kenyan authorities.