The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development

Paris - February 24, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Argentina – Visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault (February 24, 2016)

◢  Burundi – Situation and visit by the UN secretary-general (February 23, 2016)

◢  Fiji – French aid following Hurricane Winston (February 24, 2016)

◢  Nepal – Airplane crash (February 24, 2016)

Argentina – Visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault (February 24, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, minister of foreign affairs and international development, will accompany President Hollande on a state visit to Argentina on February 24.

On this occasion, the minister and his Argentinian counterpart, Ms. Malcorra, will discuss strengthening every aspect of our bilateral relationship, beginning with the economy, and the major crises facing the international community, particularly in Syria. France and Argentina share a common approach to human rights, particularly with respect to the universal abolition of the death penalty and the fight against forced disappearances. The two ministers will also discuss the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, the fight against drug trafficking, and the work to be done on pandemics.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will visit the Alliance Franšaise headquarters in Buenos Aires and will address the directors of the various Alliances Franšaises in Argentina. This network is one of the oldest and largest in the world, with 74 locations and 400 French teachers. With nearly 16,000 students in 2015, an increase of 7%, it reflects the vitality of our language and the attractions of our culture, and is a major player in the dialogue between our two societies.

Burundi – Situation and visit by the UN secretary-general (February 23, 2016)

France is very concerned by the human rights violations and violence in Burundi, both in the capital city and in the provinces. It condemns the grenade attacks against civilians that are occurring nearly every day in Bujumbura.

We welcome the commitment shown by the UN secretary-general who traveled to Burundi on February 23, as well as the announcements made on that occasion by President Pierre Nkurunziza about the importance of dialogue and trust-building measures. France will be watching closely to see if these commitments are fully met, and if they are promptly followed by concrete results.

France supports the African Union's efforts and hopes that the mission by heads of state (from South Africa, Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritania and Senegal) in Burundi on February 25 and 26 will help strengthen the momentum of a political process based on dialogue.

We stand ready to provide support for efforts to engage in dialogue, particularly within the UN Security Council, in keeping with Burundi's Constitution and the Arusha agreement.

Fiji – French aid following Hurricane Winston (February 24, 2016)

France expresses its complete solidarity with Fiji following the passage of Hurricane Winston on February 21, which left 42 dead, according to the latest estimates. We offer our sincere condolences to the victims' families.

French humanitarian assistance is beginning to arrive in Fiji. A French military aircraft left this morning from New Caledonia carrying three tons of humanitarian assistance from the French Red Cross. This plane is capable of taking off and landing on short runways. At the Fijian authorities' request, it will remain on site to carry aid to the islands that have been hardest hit. It will be joined this evening by a second aircraft of the same type carrying personnel and freight from New Caledonia's Department of Civil Security and Risk Management.

In addition, as part of its partnership with the Crisis and Support Center, the Airbus Helicopters foundation has made a helicopter available to Fiji's authorities for reconnaissance flights and to transport medical and communications equipment.

We are coordinating with the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the FRANZ agreement, a framework for regional cooperation in the South Pacific during natural disasters, which we have headed since October 2015.

Nepal – Airplane crash (February 24, 2016)

We were saddened to learn of the tragic accident that occurred on February 24 in Nepal involving an airliner carrying some 20 people.

France offers its condolences to the victims' families.

We assure the Nepalese authorities of our solidarity at this difficult time.

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