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


Saudi Arabia – Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his Saudi counterpart (October 11, 2013)
International Day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2013)
Sakharov Prize
awarded to Malala Yousafzai
Iraq – Execution of 42 people

Saudi Arabia – Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his Saudi counterpart (October 11, 2013)

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met this morning with Prince Saud bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

With respect to Syria, the two ministers discussed the importance of responding to the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people by finding a political solution to the crisis, by putting an end to the appalling crackdown being imposed by the Syrian regime, and by increasing support for the Syrian National Coalition.

With respect to Iran, France, like Saudi Arabia, would like the good will expressed by President Rouhani to be translated into concrete action with respect to its nuclear program.

With respect to Lebanon, the minister underscored the importance – now more than ever - of supporting the Lebanese institutions, and in particular President Suleiman. 

Lastly, with respect to Egypt, he underscored the need to ensure the country’s political and economic stability which will require the swift implementation of the road map.

The two ministers also commended the strength of the cooperation between our two countries. Saudi Arabia remains our largest trading partner and our second largest client in the Gulf. The development of our cooperation covers many areas, including the defense, energy, security, transport and energy sectors. We welcome the fact that French companies are so involved in major industrial projects in this country.


International Day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2013)

On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, would like to reaffirm France’s commitment to improving the living conditions and implementing the rights of young girls around the world, particularly in the poorest countries.

Of the 1.8 billion young people worldwide, it’s estimated that 600 million girls, who for the most part live in developing countries, are in an extremely vulnerable situation. They are often exposed to violence due to a lack of recognition of their fundamental right to security, education and health.

France would like to offer a global solution to meet these challenges. It is attached to implementing the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination against Women.

It has worked to promote the adoption of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. At the national level, it adopted, in August 2013, a new “Gender and Development” strategy which places gender equality at the heart of France’s development policy. It notably involves ensuring that 50% of French development assistance projects and programs are aimed at improving gender equality. Lastly, it supports the action of UNICEF and UN Women.


For the second International Day of the Girl Child, France is mobilizing its efforts in support of the fight against violence in schools. This violence may lead to a decrease in school attendance which can adversely affect the course of young girls’ lives. For the most part, this violence remains hidden and goes unpunished, making it difficult for public authorities to discover, recognize and respond to it.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with UN and civil society agencies, established a working group which has provided recommendations on how to combat the impunity of the perpetrators of violence, strengthen preventive measures and take care of victims. This commitment has been put into practice on the ground through support for programs to promote the education of girls and to combat gender-based violence, implemented by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Niger.

France and UNICEF, with the help of the Global Partnership for Education, will host, from October 19 to 21, a regional workshop in Ouagadougou aimed at developing a regional strategy to combat gender-based violence in schools.


Sakharov Prize awarded to Malala Yousafzai

France welcomes the European Parliament’s decision to award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the young Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai.

The European Parliament thereby pays a well-deserved tribute to the action and personal courage of this 16-year-old girl, who campaigns to promote the recognition of the right to education as a fundamental right.

On January 9, 2013, France awarded Malala Yousafzai the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom for her exemplary action.


Iraq – Execution of 42 people

France condemns the execution of 42 people in the last two days in Iraq and expresses its deep concern at the scale of the use of the death penalty in this country. These executions contradict the global trend toward the abolition of this inhuman punishment, the deterrent value of which has never been established. France again urges the Iraqi authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty with a view toward its definitive abolition.

The parliamentary seminar hosted by France this week on the occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty brought together more than 40 representatives from the North Africa/Middle East region, including Iraqi parliamentarians. It provided an opportunity to reaffirm the universal nature of this priority.

In October 2012, Mr. Laurent Fabius launched a campaign for the universal abolition of the death penalty. France expresses its firm and constant opposition to the death penalty everywhere and under all circumstances.