The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - March 11, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Netherlands – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bert Koenders and closing session of the symposium on European Defense (Paris - March 11, 2016)

◢  Netherlands – Meetings between Harlem Désir, Matthias Fekl and their Dutch counterparts (Paris - March 11, 2016)

◢  Central African Republic – Meetings between Jean-Marc Ayrault, André Vallini and Faustin-Archange Touadera, President-elect (Paris - March 11, 2016)

◢  Lebanon – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Walid Jumblatt (Paris, March 11, 2016)

◢  European Union – Jean-Marc Ayraultís participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - March 14, 2016)

◢  Mali – Peace agreement monitoring committee (March 9-10, 2016)

◢  Colombia / UN – Nomination of Jean Arnault as the UN secretary-generalís special representative (March 9, 2016)

◢  Japan – Fifth anniversary of the disaster of March 11, 2011 (March 11, 2016)

 
Netherlands – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bert Koenders and closing session of the symposium on European Defense (Paris - March 11, 2016)

On the occasion of the state visit to France by the King and Queen of the Netherlands, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive Bert Koenders, his Dutch counterpart, for a working lunch today.

They will discuss our successful bilateral cooperation, notably in the economic and cultural spheres, as well as the major issues that we are working on together with the Dutch presidency of the European Union: the fight against terrorism, the refugee crisis, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, and relations between the EU and its eastern and southern neighbors.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will deliver a speech alongside his counterpart at the closing session of the symposium on the future of European defense at the Quai díOrsay, which will be attended by the King and Queen of the Netherlands, researchers, students, diplomats and military personnel from both countries.

The two ministers will also sign a declaration on the French-Dutch initiative, in the presence of the two co-chairs, Jean-Marc Janaillac, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Transdev, and Pauline Meurs, an academic from Rotterdam. This initiative is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between civil societies and between businesses, notably in the areas of new technology and innovation.



Netherlands – Meetings between Harlem Désir, Matthias Fekl and their Dutch counterparts (Paris - March 11, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will today discuss with Bert Koenders, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, the main European issues. He will underscore the priority that France attaches to the swift adoption of the European directive regulating the use of passenger data records (PNR), the establishment of a European corps of border guards as well as the continued funding of the European Youth Initiative beyond 2016.

In addition, Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, met this morning with Liliane Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. They underscored the vitality of our trade relations and discussed the transatlantic partnership and trade defense instruments.



Central African Republic – Meetings between Jean-Marc Ayrault, André Vallini and Faustin-Archange Touadera, President-elect (Paris - March 11, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, today received Faustin Archange Touadéra, President-elect of the Central African Republic, during a private visit to France.

Jean-Marc Ayrault paid tribute to the outstanding manner in which the elections were conducted and congratulated Faustin Archange Touadéra on his victory. He announced that he would attend the inauguration ceremony scheduled to take place in Bangui on March 30, which will mark a new chapter in the history of the Central African Republic. The meeting focused on the challenges facing the CAR in the post-crisis period, our bilateral relations and the support that France will continue to lend the elected authorities in their efforts to promote reconciliation, reconstruction and development.

André Vallini, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, also met with the president-elect, to discuss all of the means that France is ready to implement, together with the United Nations, the EU and our other international partners, to support the efforts of the elected authorities to promote the countryís recovery.



Lebanon – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Walid Jumblatt (Paris - March 11, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will this afternoon receive Walid Jumblatt, member of the Lebanese Parliament and leader of the Progressive Socialist Party.

He will reaffirm Franceís support for Lebanon, its institutions and its army and will stress the need for Lebanonís political leaders to continue their efforts to elect a president without delay and to rebuild the countryís institutions.

The meeting will also focus on the regional situation and the Syrian crisis, which is threatening to destabilize Lebanon. Jean-Marc Ayrault will underscore the need to lend increased support to Lebanon, following the international conference that took place in London.



European Union – Jean-Marc Ayraultís participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - March 14, 2016)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault will attend the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on March 14. Its agenda includes the following points:

  • Iran - The ministers will review Iranís respect of its obligations under the Vienna Agreement and relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as relations between Iran and the European Union;
  • Middle East peace process - Jean-Marc Ayrault will report to his European colleagues on the results of conversations he had with Arab partners during his trip to Egypt on the subject of the French peace process initiative;
  • Libya - The ministers will speak with Martin Kobler, the UN secretary-generalís special envoy. They will review the political situation, and particularly the urgent need for a national government to assume its duties. They will also discuss the topic of individual European sanctions against those keeping it from doing so;
  • Russia - The ministers will review EU-Russian relations, stressing the need to pursue a relationship characterized by both firmness and dialogue;
  • Central African Republic - A crisis management plan will be presented to the ministers. It is the first step in a process expected to result in the deployment of a European advisory and training mission in the country this summer.



Mali – Peace agreement monitoring committee (March 9-10, 2016)

Following the seventh session of the peace agreement monitoring committee, and in the wake of the visit to Mali by members of the UN Security Council, France applauds the partiesí commitment and the progress made during the establishment of transitional governments and the return of signatory groups to their bases.

We encourage the parties to continue on this path, so that other key measures can be implemented by the next committee meeting. The Kidal forum will be one more step to peace and reconciliation among all Malians.

We renew our support for the inter-Malian peace process.



Colombia / UN – Nomination of Jean Arnault as the UN secretary-generalís special representative (March 9, 2016)

France welcomes the nomination of Jean Arnault as the UN secretary-generalís special representative and head of the UN ceasefire monitoring mission in Colombia established by Security Council Resolution 2261 of January 25.

This mission will benefit from Mr. Arnaultís enormous experience. Formerly the UN secretary-generalís special representative to Georgia, Afghanistan, Burundi and Guatemala, Mr. Arnault has, since August 2015, served as his delegate on end-of-conflict issues within the Colombian peace process.

France renews its support for this peace process, which was instituted in Cuba in late 2012. It hopes that a final ceasefire between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed.

Forces of Colombia will be swiftly concluded, so that the UN mission can be deployed there without delay.



Japan – Fifth anniversary of the disaster of March 11, 2011 (March 11, 2016)

On March 11, 2011 Ė five years ago to the day Ė Japan was struck by a terrible disaster combining an earthquake, a tidal wave and a nuclear accident. Our thoughts go out to the victims who lost their lives, to their families, and to the hundreds of thousands of people who lost everything as a result of these events.

France stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Japan, our friend and extraordinary partner in Asia, as it has since the very first days of the tragedy, when it mobilized to send emergency aid and organize numerous solidarity efforts.

Franceís thoughts are with the Japanese people throughout this painful commemoration.


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