Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, July 1st, 2013)

 

Handing over of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Ireland to Lithuania (July 1, 2013)
Mali - Transformation of AFISMA into MINUSMA
Egypt
United States – European Union



Handing over of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Ireland to Lithuania (July 1, 2013)

France expresses its thanks to the Republic of Ireland for assuming its 7th Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which has just ended.

Ireland’s presidency can take pride in its excellent record, with in particular:

- the agreement on the European budget for 2014-2020, which could soon be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council;

- the agreement on the reform of the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy;

- the adoption of flagship measures, such as the commitment to provide €6 billion in funding to the Youth Employment Initiative over the next two years;

- the work on the banking union, which has made progress thanks to the agreement on the single supervisory mechanism for banks, the definition of new prudential rules for banks and the agreement on bank crisis resolution;

- Lastly, in the area of justice, freedom and security, the Irish presidency made progress on the governance of the Schengen Area and the definition of a new European asylum system.

The Irish presidency also achieved a number of successes with respect to external issues:

- in terms of EU enlargement, accession negotiations were resumed with Turkey, following France's decision to open the chapter on regional policy. Accession negotiations were also opened with Serbia. Lastly, the decision was taken to negotiate a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo;

- in terms of the Common Security and Defense Policy, two new operations were launched: the training and advisory mission, EUTM Mali, and the border protection mission, EUBAM Libya;

- with respect to trade, a mandate was given to the Commission to conduct negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States, upholding the cultural exception and excluding audiovisual services from the negotiation.

France wishes Lithuania every success in its first Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It assures it of its full support for its efforts, whether with respect to promoting growth and employment in Europe, the strengthening of the economic and monetary union, the completion of the internal energy market or the Eastern Partnership Summit which is due to take place in Vilnius from November 28 to 29.

 

Mali - Transformation of AFISMA into MINUSMA

France welcomes the transformation today of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) into the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The African forces’ transition into blue helmets marks the beginning of a new phase for Mali, that of stabilization.

MINUSMA now has almost 6,000 blue helmets, who are already deployed in Mali, including in all towns in the north, as well as in Kidal. As the Security Council decided in its resolution 2100, MINUSMA will have a maximum of 11,200 soldiers, 1,440 police officers, as well as civilian experts. MINUSMA will continue to increase in strength over the next few months.

Under the authority of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mr. Bert Koenders, MINUSMA is tasked with stabilizing the country and lending support to the Malian authorities in the political transition process. In particular, it must support the implementation of the interim agreement signed in Ouagadougou on June 18 as well as the holding of the presidential elections, scheduled to take place on July 28 and August 11, and the parliamentary elections.

France lends its full support to the UN and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in fulfilling their mission. As authorized by the Security Council, the French forces could lend support to MINUSMA if necessary, and within the bounds of their capabilities.

 

Egypt

What is your reaction to the mass protests throughout the country against the government in Egypt?

Protests on an unprecedented scale took place yesterday, Sunday, June 30, in Cairo and throughout Egypt.

It is the responsibility and duty of the democratically elected Egyptian authorities to heed the legitimate concerns of the Egyptian people, by taking strong measures likely to establish the conditions for a new consensus.

On this basis, we encourage all parties to take action in the spirit of compromise necessary to ensure the success of the ideals of the revolution of January 25.

France, which reaffirms its attachment to the respect for the right to demonstrate peacefully, condemns the violence that has taken place in recent days, whatever its origins, and extends its sympathy to the victims’ families. It calls on all Egyptian political leaders to condemn the violence and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

 

United States – European Union

When did France become aware of the suspicions that the National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on its national representations (diplomatic missions) and the European Union’s institutions? Was France aware of this before the revelations in the German and British press?

The Guardian claims that France was one of the NSA’s targets. What’s your response?

The minister stated yesterday that France expected the American authorities “to respond as swiftly as possible to the legitimate concerns raised by the press disclosures” relating to allegations that the NSA spied on the EU’s institutions. Have you received an explanation from the American authorities?

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, voiced his opinion on this issue yesterday. He indicated that France had asked the American authorities for an explanation and that he expected them to respond as swiftly as possible to the legitimate concerns raised by the press disclosures.

There can be no justification on the grounds of security for spying on diplomats and diplomatic representations of friendly countries, if that proves to be the case. It would therefore be unacceptable.

Mr. Laurent Fabius will speak on the telephone with his American counterpart, Mr. John Kerry, this afternoon, at the request of the latter. He will also receive the ambassador of the United States in Paris.