Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, December 5, 2013)

Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Ahmed Tomeh, Prime Minister of the interim government of the Syrian National Coalition (Paris, December 5, 2013)
Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his South African counterpart (Paris, December 5, 2013)
Ukraine – Interview given by Laurent Fabius to “RMC – BFM”

Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Ahmed Tomeh, Prime Minister of the interim government of the Syrian National Coalition (Paris, December 5, 2013)

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today received Mr. Ahmed Tomeh, Prime Minister of the interim government of the Syrian National Coalition, as well as 3 members of the government formed last month.

Mr. Laurent Fabius reaffirmed the importance of the Geneva II conference for initiating a transition that will respond to the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people and respect human rights. He welcomed the commitment of the prime minister of the coalition in this respect. With this in mind, Mr. Fabius and Mr. Tomeh discussed the need to urgently improve humanitarian access on the ground, in accordance with the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of October 2.

The minister of foreign affairs paid tribute to the practical and concrete approach set out by Mr. Tomeh and the ministers in attendance. Mr. Laurent Fabius announced France’s readiness to help the interim government to implement its priorities, notably with respect to local government and the provision of basic services in areas such as energy, health, water, and food security. This assistance builds on the actions to support the local councils already initiated by France. Mr. Fabius announced France’s decision to take part in the multi-donor fund for Syrian reconstruction established by Germany and the United Arab Emirates within the framework of the Friends of the Syrian People group.

Lastly, the minister of foreign affairs noted the determination of the interim government to work toward restructuring the free army and training the police forces in the liberated areas, in order to guarantee the security of the population.

 

Meeting between Mr. Laurent Fabius and his South African counterpart (Paris, December 5, 2013)

This morning, Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, received Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.

On the eve of the Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, the two ministers discussed the regional crises in Africa – notably in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo – as well as the political situation in Madagascar.

They also discussed the priorities of our bilateral relations, a month and a half after President Hollande’s state visit to South Africa.

 

Ukraine – Interview given by Laurent Fabius to “RMC – BFM”

December 5, 2013
Q - Is the situation in Ukraine a coup d'état or not?
No it’s not a coup d'état. There’s been no military intervention. The problem is this: should an association agreement with the EU be concluded or should it be rejected? Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich spoke with the Russians and they put pressure on him. As a result, Mr. Yanukovich said, “I cannot sign this association agreement. The Russians are proposing some very interesting things.” A segment of the population doesn’t agree with that, hence the movements you’re seeing.

My position is simple: we don’t have to interfere in the Ukrainian affair, but it’s up to Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian institutions to decide what they want to do.

Q - I say that to you because I saw that the German minister of foreign affairs went to Kiev in order to demonstrate with the opposition. Will you go to Kiev to demonstrate with the opposition?
Guido Westerwelle went there and I think he had some success that was justified.

Q - Yes. Will you go or not? Honestly?
More modestly, I’ve invited the leader of the opposition to come to Paris and he has accepted. He will be here in 10 days or so.

Q - But will you go or not?
If I were to go, I would certainly receive a great deal of praise. But I don’t plan to right now. Sometimes you have to forego receiving praise. Having said that, Mr. Westerwelle is a friend.

Q - Because Ukraine is demanding adhesion to the EU.
It depends on who. The majority of the Ukrainian people are demanding it. We would like it, but President Yanukovich is saying no.

So, how do we resolve this matter? It shouldn’t be decided through violence but through a democratic process. Will there be elections? Will there be a change in prime minister? I don’t know.

I’m in favor of an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU but that doesn’t mean that we’re hostile to Russia. That’s where things are sometimes presented in a somewhat binary way. Ukraine can move closer to the EU without becoming Russia’s adversary. That’s what we have to understand.

Q - That’s what Mr. Putin doesn’t understand?
Mr. Putin has a vision that is somewhat more clear-cut.

Q - Clear-cut! It’s Russia that is denouncing the interference by NATO countries in this matter.
I think that when you’re in a difficult situation, you’re compelled to blame others for doing what you’re doing yourself.

Q - Should NATO be expanded to include Georgia? Bosnia? Macedonia?
That’s another matter.

Q - But, since the Russians want to retain their influence over all the satellite countries that were part of the USSR in the past, like Georgia…
Of course, but the question is this: the Russians are telling us, and we should listen to what they’re saying, “We don’t want to be surrounded.” We understand that. NATO is a political and military alliance.

The Russians aren’t our enemies but just because they don’t want to be surrounded it doesn’t mean that the buffer zone should be recreated. That’s slightly different.
(…).