The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development
Spokesperson


Paris - February 19, 2016
In this issue:

◢  United Nations – Meeting between the minister and Jan Eliasson (February 19, 2016)

◢  Ukraine – Joint visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ukraine (February 22-23, 2016)

◢  Belgium / Press cartoons – Visit by Harlem Désir to Mons (Belgium - February 20, 2016)

◢  European Union / Trade – Meeting between Matthias Fekl and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (Paris - February 19, 2016)

◢  Health / Foreign trade – Appointment of Jean-Patrick Lajonchère as export coordinator for healthcare products and services (February 19, 2016)

 
United Nations – Meeting between the minister and Jan Eliasson (February 19, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, today.

This meeting will provide an opportunity for the minister to underscore the importance that France attaches to the work of the United Nations.

Mr. Ayrault and Mr. Eliasson will take stock of the main current crises, notably in Syria, as well as the humanitarian challenges in the run-up to the World Humanitarian Summit due to take place in Istanbul on May 23 and 24. They will review the implementation of the Paris climate agreement.



Ukraine – Joint visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ukraine (February 22-23, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will visit Kiev on February 22 and 23.

This joint visit will provide an opportunity to talk to the Ukrainian authorities about progress on reform and the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, as well as to reaffirm the determination of France and Germany to support essential changes in the country.



Belgium / Press cartoons – Visit by Harlem Désir to Mons (Belgium - February 20, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will visit the "This is not Europe! 120 topical cartoons" exhibition at the Mons Memorial Museum on February 20, 2016, at the invitation of Elio Di Rupo, Mayor of Mons and Minister of State, and Plantu, President of the Cartooning for Peace association.

This exhibition offers a novel approach to European challenges and issues, whether with respect to extremism, populism, the retreat into nationalism, migration, or the consequences of the economic crisis. The perspective of 52 cartoonists from 29 European countries and elsewhere will be presented through 120 cartoons in Mons, the 2015 European Capital of Culture.

During his visit, Harlem Désir will reaffirm the French government's determination to defend the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression, in France, in Europe and throughout the world.



European Union / Trade – Meeting between Matthias Fekl and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (Paris - February 19, 2016)

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, received Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, at the Quai d'Orsay.

They discussed France's trade policy priorities during the Dutch presidency of the European Council of Ministers. They notably reaffirmed the importance of agricultural issues in the trade negotiations and took stock of the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). While the 12th negotiating session is about to get under way, Matthias Fekl reaffirmed that "substance should prevail over the timetable."

Matthias Fekl and Cecilia Malmström took stock of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) as well as the trade agreement between the EU and Canada. In this respect, Matthias Fekl reaffirmed that France, like other EU member states, considers this agreement to be a mixed agreement. It should therefore not only be submitted to the European Parliament, but also to the national parliaments, which should authorize its ratification.



Health / Foreign trade – Appointment of Jean-Patrick Lajonchère as export coordinator for healthcare products and services (February 19, 2016)

Matthias Fekl, minister of state for foreign trade, the promotion of tourism, and French nationals abroad, has appointed Jean-Patrick Lajonchère to coordinate exports of healthcare products and services, a priority area for France. He replaces David Sourdive, whose accomplishments won unanimous praise.

The role of this coordinator is to help establish a framework for the healthcare sector abroad and to promote that sector. Mr. Lajonchère will focus in particular on exporting French standards and expertise with respect to hospital care; this includes setting up clinics, assessing medications and medical devices, and improving outpatient services.

In 2015, exports in this area reached 47 billion euros, or 11% of total French exports, and generated a trade surplus of more than 10 billion. France has bolstered its position in the global trade of healthcare products and services; it now holds fifth place for pharmaceuticals and sixth place for chemicals, fragrances and cosmetics.



Syria – Humanitarian assistance (February 18, 2016)

France takes note of the delivery of humanitarian supplies in five besieged areas in Syria. But this first step is still not enough. Continuous unrestricted access to all those in need must be guaranteed in accordance with international humanitarian law and the repeated demands of the Security Council, including resolution 2254. More than 500,000 people are under siege, most by the Syrian regime, and 4.6 million are receiving only a very small amount of humanitarian assistance. We want to stress that the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.

France remains very concerned by the dangerous escalation of the conflict, particularly in Aleppo, and by the intolerable attacks on civilians, hospitals and schools. It solemnly calls on the regime and its allies, including Russia, to halt their attacks on civilians and implement the commitments made in Munich on February 11, to cease hostilities today, and to resume talks on the political transition under the auspices of Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura.


France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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