Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, July 11, 2013)

Telephone conversation between the minister and the new president of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Assi al-Jarba (July 11)
Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Ms. Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (Paris, July 9, 2013)
Appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the head of UN Women (July 10)
Mali – Elections


Telephone conversation between the minister and the new president of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Assi al-Jarba (July 11)

The minister of foreign affairs spoke this morning by telephone with the new president of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Assi al-Jarba.

The minister congratulated him on his election as president of the Coalition and on the election of the other members of the governing bodies. While the Syrian regime’s crackdown is intensifying, notably in Homs, he expressed France’s determination to continue supporting the Syrian National Coalition as well as the joint command led by Selim Idriss.

The minister welcomed and endorsed the appeal for a truce during Ramadan launched by President al-Jarba.

Mr. Laurent Fabius reaffirmed France’s commitment to helping the Syrian people and to supporting them in their fight for a free and democratic Syria, as well as its determination to find a political solution to that end.

The minister invited the new president of the Syrian National Coalition to come to France in the near future; Mr. Ahmad Assi al-Jarba readily accepted this invitation.

 

Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Ms. Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (Paris, July 9, 2013)

On July 9, Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Ms. Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

This meeting provided an opportunity to reaffirm France’s support for Ms. Amos and the United Nations; while needs are increasing, its presence and action in countries in crisis is vital, notably at the humanitarian level. It provided an opportunity to discuss the situation in Syria, regarding which Mr. Fabius and Ms. Amos agreed on the urgent need to ensure access to the civilian victims of the conflict. The discussions also focused on Mali and the Central African Republic, on the eve of Ms. Amos’s visit to that country.

During her visit to Paris, Ms. Amos also met with the main French NGOs working to promote solidarity and human rights. The NGOs reaffirmed the need to ensure that humanitarian actors have free and unrestricted access to the countries in crisis.

France is one of the OCHA’s main donors and signed, in October 2012, a joint statement on a partnership agreement, reaffirming France’s political support for this organization, which plays an essential role in ensuring the coordination of humanitarian assistance in emergency situations.

 

Appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the head of UN Women (July 10)

France welcomes the appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as Executive Director of UN Women. Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will bring to the post her experience as deputy president of South Africa and as a female politician engaged in defending and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The protection of women’s rights, the promotion of gender equality and the fight against gender-based violence are key priorities of France’s external action. In this respect, France reaffirms its attachment to UN Women, whose creation it supported and whose priorities it fully shares. It has developed several cooperation activities with this agency, notably by signing a framework cooperation agreement in May 2012.

 

Mali – Elections

The elections on July 28 are a necessary step toward the transition, as outlined in the road map unanimously adopted by the Malian Parliament on January 29. All actors supported this timetable: the African Union, ECOWAS, the UN Security Council and the EU. Please refer to the various statements issued on this topic.

President Traoré reaffirmed his wholehearted commitment to holding elections on the planned date in his address to the nation on July 7.

The international community has worked hard, alongside the Malian authorities, to ensure that the elections take place as planned:

- funding has been raised, including €17 million from the EU, through a UNDP trust fund;

- technical support has been provided, notably by France;

- the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been working with the Malian authorities and the refugee host countries in order to ensure that the refugees are able to participate in the elections;

- the Ouagadougou agreement, supported by the region and the international community, will allow the presidential election to take place in Kidal;

- in recent days, under the auspices of MINUSMA, practical solutions have been found in order to deal with the areas that are not readily accessible and those where security is needed. Serval will contribute to this, alongside MINUSMA’s blue helmets.

- election observation missions have been deployed by the EU and the African Union, among others.

Technical operations are making progress:

- the last batch of voter cards was delivered to Mali on June 27;

- the voter cards are currently being distributed and more than a third have been withdrawn in less than 10 days (40% in Timbuktu, 55% in Ségou);

- almost 20,000 refugees have indicated their intention to vote.

The official campaign has been launched. The vast majority of candidates have signed a good conduct pact and are not disputing the timetable.

The voters are clearly motivated.