Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, May 14, 2013)

 

Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Edward Nalbandian, Armenia’s Foreign Minister (May 13, 2013)
Mr. Pascal Canfin’s participation in the International Conference against Child Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (Paris, May 14 to 15, 2013)
Funding to ensure access to health services for children in the Sahel (May 13, 2013)
Central African Republic (CAR)


Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Edward Nalbandian, Armenia’s Foreign Minister (May 13, 2013)

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, received his Armenian counterpart, Mr. Edward Nalbandian, on May 13.

During their meeting, Mr. Fabius and Mr. Nalbandian underscored the importance of French-Armenian relations and discussed the prospects for their development, notably in the economic field.

The two ministers also discussed the negotiations under way to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as several international issues, including the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear issue.

 

Mr. Pascal Canfin’s participation in the International Conference against Child Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (Paris, May 14 to 15, 2013)

Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, will today participate in the two-day International Conference against Child Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris.

This conference, which is being organized by UNICEF-France in partnership with the minister of foreign affairs, the French Development Agency, Action Against Hunger, Doctors Without Borders, the Alliance for International Medical Action and the Gates Foundation, will look at the solutions that could be implemented on the ground to effectively combat child malnutrition.

Malnutrition is responsible for one third of the 6.9 million deaths annually among children under five in developing countries. It also has a lasting impact on the physical and intellectual capacities of the children affected, and as such constitutes a major obstacle to development.

France is closely involved in the international mobilization to combat malnutrition which is a priority of its action in the area of food security, support for maternal and child health and emergency aid.

 

Funding to ensure access to health services for children in the Sahel (May 13, 2013)

Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, announced the launch of a €30 million initiative to ensure access to health services for children in Mali and other countries in the Sahel which will be funded by a portion of the French tax on financial transactions.

This initiative will be implemented through the creation of a fund managed by the French Development Agency. The actions supported in various countries in the Sahel will aim to ensure that the children of the poorest families, who cannot afford to pay for medical consultations, can be treated. An estimated 2 million children could benefit from this scheme.

In the Sahel, one in every five children dies before his or her fifth birthday, often from illnesses that can be treated. This initiative will ensure better access to care in order to prevent, screen for, and treat major pandemics, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as improved treatment of more common conditions and acute malnutrition. This fund will help to reduce infant mortality and speed up progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Today, some 100 million people around the world fall below the poverty line every year because of health expenses. Hundreds of millions more forego medical treatment due to a lack of resources. This is typical in the Sahel countries where families must pay a major share of treatment costs. Moreover, France is one of the countries most committed to social protection issues. It notably supports the goal of universal healthcare coverage, in accordance with the principles set forth in a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012.

This project reflects France’s determination to mobilize innovative funding for development. Following the introduction of a tax on financial transactions in July 2012, France was the first country to allocate 10% of the revenue from this tax to development policy, for access to health services, as well as drinking water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa. France also argues that a significant portion of the tax on European financial transactions - currently under negotiation – should also benefit international solidarity.

 

Central African Republic (CAR)

What are the next steps for the CAR? What is the current situation regarding the strengthening of MICOPAX?

The next key steps for the Central African Republic will focus on security and the political track.

In follow-up to its efforts in support of the CAR and the decisions taken at the N'Djamena Summit on April 18, the Economic Community of Central African States will convene its defense and security committee from May 16 to 18 in Libreville. At this meeting, technical decisions should be taken on the strengthening of MICOPAX, notably with respect to its mandate, this force’s concept of operations, and its expansion to 2000 men; the financial implications of these measures will also be examined. The Security Council is also closely monitoring this issue; consultations on the Central African Republic will take place on May 15.

Regarding the political track, the transitional authorities must implement the decisions made at the N'Djamena Summit, in accordance with the road map that was defined. A cabinet reshuffle is anticipated in order to ensure a more representative government. The National Transition Council must be expanded and balance restored to it, which has been done. The primary task of the National Transition Council is to draw up a constitutional charter for the transition, which will direct the functioning of the institutions during this period.

France fully supports the efforts of the Economic Community of Central African States and the African Union aimed at stabilizing the Central African Republic. The priority is to restore public order as swiftly as possible, while the violence and widespread looting have affected the capital since March 24. The transitional authorities must provide the security forces with the necessary means to fulfill their role and contain the rebels.