Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, March 18, 2013)

 

Telephone conversation between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his Chinese counterpart, Mr. Wang Yi
United Nations – Adoption of a resolution on the prevention and elimination of violence against women (March 15, 2013)
Opening of the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (New York, March 18 to 28, 2013)

United States – Forthcoming abolition of the death penalty in Maryland
Yemen – Launch of a national dialogue conference

Telephone conversation between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his Chinese counterpart, Mr. Wang Yi

Mr. Laurent Fabius spoke on the telephone this morning with Mr. Wang Yi, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China.

The minister congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his appointment. He underscored the importance France attaches to the development of French-Chinese relations in all areas. The two ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening French-Chinese partnerships in the civilian nuclear and aerospace sectors, while developing other partnerships. The minister reaffirmed the need to restore balance to and strengthen trade between France and China.

The two ministers signaled their shared determination to further develop coordination between France and China on major international and global issues for which we have special responsibility. The minister notably thanked his counterpart for China’s support in resolving the crisis in Mali.

The two ministers agreed to remain in close contact in order to prepare for the forthcoming events of importance for bilateral relations. They also underlined the importance of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and China in 2014.

 

United Nations – Adoption of a resolution on the prevention and elimination of violence against women (March 15, 2013)

France welcomes the adoption on March 15 by the Commission on the Status of Women, at its 57th session, of conclusions on the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

These conclusions reaffirm the determination of the entire international community combat this violence. They provide the international community and all stakeholders concerned with concrete recommendations.

The text rejects in particular all forms of cultural relativism: states cannot invoke cultural, religious or traditional considerations as a reason not to comply with their obligations relating to the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. As such, they are called upon to take measures to eliminate traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and forced and early marriages.

For the first time within the framework of the Commission on the Status of Women, the resolution also mentions the fundamental rights of women with respect to sexual and reproductive health. The denial of these rights is often the first form of violence perpetrated against women. The resolution also calls for efforts to combat all forms of impunity.

On this occasion, we pay tribute to the commitment and work of UN Women, and in particular its Executive Director Michelle Bachelet. France, which was represented by Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister of Women’s Rights, strongly mobilized its efforts to ensure the success of this session, following the failure last year of the 56th session of the Commission to adopt any agreed conclusions. 

Opening of the Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (New York, March 18 to 28, 2013)

The Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty begins on March 18 at the UN Headquarters in New York. This is a major event for the international community in the area of arms control. Representatives from international and regional organizations and civil society will take part in the deliberations. This conference follows the conference held in July 2012, which did not reach a successful conclusion.

France, whose delegation is led by our representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, is fully involved in this process. Its goal is to achieve a legally binding instrument that will involve the major stakeholders in the arms trade and make it possible to regulate the legal trade in conventional weapons and thereby combat the illegal trafficking of these weapons.

The draft treaty – which covers the seven categories of the UN Register on Conventional Arms as well as small arms and light weapons, ammunition, parts and components – aims to establish a certain number of criteria by which states will assess arms transfer applications: a ban on transfers likely to contribute to war crimes, acts of genocide or violations of international commitments and Security Council embargos; consideration of risks associated with violations of human rights or international humanitarian law; consideration of the risk of corruption in transactions and the risk of diversion into the illicit market.

United States – Forthcoming abolition of the death penalty in Maryland

France welcomes the decisive step taken by the Maryland General Assembly toward the abolition of the death penalty in this state, following the confirmation by the House of Representatives of the Senate vote in favor of the abolition. If the decision is endorsed by the governor, Maryland will become the 18th state in the United States to abolish the death penalty.

France reaffirms its firm and constant opposition to the death penalty everywhere and under all circumstances. It considers that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to the protection of human dignity: this is the thrust of the campaign launched in October by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

France renews its appeal for the introduction of a universal moratorium with a view toward to the definitive abolition of the death penalty.           

 

Yemen – Launch of a national dialogue conference

France welcomes the launch by President Hadi on March 18 of a national dialogue conference. The introduction of this peaceful and democratic process is a courageous decision by the authorities and all Yemenis. Since the signing of the Gulf Initiative on November 23, 2011, a great deal of progress has already been achieved, with the election of a new president and the cessation of violence.

We urge all components of Yemeni society to participate in the national dialogue in order to ensure their voices are heard. We urge them to work together to lay the foundations of the new Constitution and to agree on the framework of the next elections.

We are confident that the national dialogue initiated by President Hadi will make it possible to build a stable and prosperous Yemen that will respect the rule of law.