Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, March 27, 2013)


Djibouti - Flooding
Signing of an agreement between the Crisis Center and the Magellan Network (March 26, 2013)
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Djibouti - Flooding

France offers its condolences to the people of Djibouti following the severe flooding on March 25 that left a dozen people dead.

At the request of Djibouti’s authorities, three Puma helicopters and a Gazelle from the French Air Force flew to the scene, with two French medical teams assisted by a Djiboutian military doctor.

They embarked 15 injured individuals, some of whom were taken to the Bouffard French military hospital. A Puma also rescued six children trapped by a flash flood in the Ambouli wadi.

Signing of an agreement between the Crisis Center and the Magellan Network (March 26, 2013)

Ever since it was founded, the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Center has been the main channel for communication with companies on security issues involving their employees abroad. Close and regular consultations occur between those responsible for the security of French firms operating abroad and the Magellan Network, a human resources network comprising more than 200 large corporations.

This Network, whose international mobility club fosters dialogue between corporate boards and government administrations, took part in the seventh meeting on the security of French companies abroad, held at the Crisis Center on January 31. During that meeting, company representatives heard a presentation on the key points involved in planning for and protecting expatriates.

This dialogue was stepped up on March 26 with the signing of an agreement officializing cooperation on the prevention and management of crises concerning French employees abroad. The Crisis Center is slated to participate in crisis management exercises organized by the Magellan Network. A similar exercise took place in July 2012.

The aim of this public-private cooperation is to better respond to questions on the status and evolution of risks so that businesses responsible for employees abroad can take the appropriate steps to face such risks.

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What was the upshot of this morning’s talks between Laurent Fabius and John Kerry?

They discussed first and foremost the situation in the Middle East in the aftermath of President Obama’s visit to the region. Mr. Fabius stressed the importance of making the peace process a priority, the need for the international community to become involved, and France’s willingness to play a major role.

As for Syria, the two ministers noted the unacceptability of the violence perpetrated by the regime and their concern over the risk of chemical weapons being used. Mr. Fabius offered an update on European Union talks on lifting the arms embargo.

With respect to Mali, Mr. Fabius and Mr. Kerry underscored the need to deal with all of the various aspects involved in resolving this crisis: the fight against terrorism and the restoration of Mali’s sovereignty throughout the country; the political dialogue between North and South and respect for the transition roadmap; and development benefiting all Malians. Mr. Fabius confirmed the drawdown of French troops in Mali starting in April, and spoke of the prospects for deploying a UN mission there in July.

They also discussed the situation in the Central African Republic and agreed on the urgent need to fully implement the provisions of the Libreville agreement concluded on January 11 under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States.

As for Afghanistan, the two ministers emphasized the need for the upcoming elections to be open, free and transparent.

Finally, they spoke about the prospects for a free-trade agreement between the EU and the United States.

Mr. Fabius and Mr. Kerry agreed to meet again in the near future to further discuss these issues.