Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris, December 16, 2014)

Middle East peace process – Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius (December 16, 2014)
Pakistan - Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius – Terrorist attack against a school (December 16, 2014)
European Union – Mr. Harlem Désir’s participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels, December 16, 2014)
Gender equality – International symposium entitled: “1975-2015: How far off is gender equality?” (Paris, December 16, 2014)
Ms. Annick Girardin’s participation in the event to mark the 20th anniversary of Coordination SUD (Paris, December 16, 2014
Germany – Death of Andreas Schockenhoff (December 13, 2014)
Tourism – Ceremony to mark the signing of the destination contracts (Paris, December 16, 2014)
Democratic Republic of Congo – Boat disaster on Lake Tanganyika (December 11, 2014)
Lebanon – French-Lebanese agreement on the implementation of the initiative to provide assistance to the Lebanese army (December 15, 2014)

Middle East peace process – Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius (December 16, 2014)

Following my meeting with my American, British and German counterparts, I met this morning with Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil al-Araby, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, and my Mauritanian colleague, Ahmed Ould Teguedi. I also received President Shimon Peres.

These meetings were largely devoted to the extremely tense situation in the Middle East and the urgent need to resume and conclude the negotiations aimed at finding a definitive solution to the conflict.

I reaffirmed France’s commitment in support of a Security Council initiative that will allow the adoption of parameters and a timetable for this negotiation. I also talked about the need to update the framework for these discussions in order to encourage the involvement of all international partners who want to work toward achieving this settlement. France is convinced that it is time to take concrete action to achieve peace.

The minister had meetings with the Arab League and Shimon Peres today. How did the talks go and did they lead to anything? Why isn’t the minister meeting his counterpart Riyad al-Malki during his visit to Paris?

Please refer to the statement that the minister has just made regarding this issue. With respect to Riyad al-Malki, he accompanied the secretary general of the Arab League this morning to the Quai d’Orsay.

Can you confirm that the French initiative relating to an alternative draft resolution to that of the Palestinians has been abandoned? Who initiated the meeting at Orly on Monday evening? Kerry or Fabius?

Please refer to the statement that the minister has just made regarding his meetings yesterday evening and this morning on the peace process.

Pakistan - Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius – Terrorist attack against a school (December 16, 2014)

Pakistani Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar today. While the hostage crisis is still ongoing, many people have reportedly been killed, the majority of them children.

France condemns this monstrous act. I extend my sympathy and my condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

France stands alongside the Pakistani people and government in this tragic ordeal, and expresses its wholehearted solidarity with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

European Union – Mr. Harlem Désir’s participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels, December 16, 2014)

Mr. Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will today visit Brussels where he will participate in the General Affairs Council. The following points will be included in the agenda:

- preparations for the European Council on December 18 and 19, which will be primarily devoted to the European investment program and the situation in Ukraine

- the enlargement process;

- the implementation of the strategic agenda adopted by the European Council in June, focusing on the fifth and final priority: “The EU as a leading global actor”;

- the strengthening of measures to monitor issues relating to the rule of law within the EU;

- improving the functioning of the EU. The ministers will have an in-depth discussion on the new distribution of seats within the Committee of the Regions; France will mark its attachment to taking demographic criteria into account with respect to the EU’s institutional balance;

Gender equality – International symposium entitled: “1975-2015: How far off is gender equality?” (Paris, December 16, 2014)

Ms. Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, opened the international symposium “1975-2015: How far off is gender equality?” today at the Ministry of Foreign and International Affairs’ Ministerial Conference Center, in the presence of Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.

Twenty years after the conference in Beijing, this event, which is being jointly hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and International Affairs and the “Genre en action” network, will provide an opportunity to take stock of international mobilization in support of gender equality. Policy-makers, experts, researchers and activists will take part in a two-day series of discussions on good practices for integrating the gender perspective into public and development policies, including policies to combat climate disruption.

Ms. Annick Girardin’s participation in the event to mark the 20th anniversary of Coordination SUD (Paris, December 16, 2014)

Ms. Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, will participate this evening in the event to mark the 20th anniversary of Coordination SUD, the national federation of French international solidarity NGOs.

Founded in 1994, Coordination SUD now brings together 140 NGOs that operate in the fields of emergency humanitarian assistance, development assistance, environmental protection and human rights in support of disadvantaged populations.

Ms. Annick Girardin will underscore the importance the government attaches to this key partner in development policy, notably within the National Council for Development and International Solidarity.

Germany – Death of Andreas Schockenhoff (December 13, 2014)

We were extremely saddened to learn of the death of Andreas Schockenhoff on December 13, 2014.

Andreas Schockenhoff, a key figure in the Bundestag, of which he had been a continuous member since 1990, and a recognized international relations expert, was a committed European and a strong supporter of the French-German friendship. Chairman of the France-Germany Friendship Group for the past two decades, he notably worked hard to bring the Bundestag and the National Assembly closer together.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Tourism – Ceremony to mark the signing of the destination contracts (Paris, December 16, 2014)

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, presided over the ceremony to mark the signing of the destination contracts this morning. Mr. Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, and Ms. Carole Delga, Minister of State for Commerce, Small-Scale Industry, Consumer Affairs and the Social and Solidarity Economy, also attended this ceremony, which brought together the government, local authorities, Atout France and other partners in support of tourism development.

These destination contracts will make it possible to bring all actors together under the same internationally strong and visible French brand. Thanks to the pooling of human and financial resources, they will lead to economies of scale and the effective promotion of French destinations around the world.

The signing of these destination contracts is one of the measures announced by Laurent Fabius on June 19, at the end of the tourism conferences. It addresses the need to provide greater structure to our tourism offerings, which are strong in terms of richness and variety but weaker in terms of visibility and organization.

Democratic Republic of Congo – Boat disaster on Lake Tanganyika (December 11, 2014)

France was extremely shocked to learn of the boat disaster on December 11 on Lake Tanganyika which left 129 people dead.

Our thoughts are with the victims as well as their families and friends, to whom we extend our heartfelt condolences.

In these tragic circumstances, France assures the Democratic Republic of Congo and its people of its solidarity.

Lebanon – French-Lebanese agreement on the implementation of the initiative to provide assistance to the Lebanese army (December 15, 2014)

France welcomes the signing on December 15 in Beirut of the French-Lebanese agreement on the implementation of the initiative to provide assistance to the Lebanese army.

This agreement, financed by a Saudi grant, will make it possible to strengthen the Lebanese army’s capacity to carry out its missions to defend the territory and combat terrorism.

While Lebanon is faced with a deteriorating security situation, the army, which is paying a high price in the face of the terrorist threat, must remain the guarantor of the country’s unity and stability.