The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - April 1, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Germany ⁄ Death of Hans-Dietrich Genscher (April 1, 2016) – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

◢  Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Meeting between Harlem Désir and the Deputy Prime Minister (Paris - April 1, 2016)

◢  Libya – Adoption of individual European sanctions (April 1, 2016)

◢  Morocco (April 1, 2016)

◢  Syria – Air strikes against Deir Al-Asafir (March 31, 2016)

◢  Turkey – Attack in Diyarbakir (March 31, 2016)

◢  Turkey ⁄ Freedom of the press – Trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül (Istanbul - April 1, 2016)

◢  Colombia – Announcement of the opening of peace talks between the government and the National Liberation Army rebel group

◢  Economic Diplomacy ⁄ Australia – Meeting of International Business Volunteers (April 1, 2016)

 
Germany ⁄ Death of Hans-Dietrich Genscher (April 1, 2016) – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, federal minister for foreign affairs and vice chancellor from 1974 to 1982 and from 1982 to 1992.

He was one of the great figures of reunification, and both his political and human qualities left their mark on this major period in European history.

I offer his loved ones my sincere condolences.

France pays tribute to the memory of a committed European, a mainstay of French-German cooperation, and a champion of German reunification.



Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Meeting between Harlem Désir and the Deputy Prime Minister (Paris - April 1, 2016)

Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir is receiving Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European Affairs Fatmir Besimi today.

Their meeting is part of the preparations for the Western Balkans Summit in Paris scheduled for July 4, at the behest of President Hollande.

Among other things, Mr. Désir and Mr. Besimi will discuss the implementation of reforms that will determine the continuation of the country’s rapprochement with Europe, as well as the migrant crisis.



Libya – Adoption of individual European sanctions (April 1, 2016)

On March 31, the European Union imposed sanctions on Nuri Abu Sahmain, Khalifa Ghwell, and Aguila Saleh. These measures target those Libyan high officials because they have repeatedly committed and ordered acts intended to impede the progress of the UN-backed political process in Libya. France actively encouraged the adoption of targeted sanctions, because it is unacceptable for a few individuals to stand in the way of Libya’s political transition and thereby hold the country hostage.

With the arrival of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and several members of the Presidential Council in Tripoli, the implementation of these measures comes at a critical time. France calls on all Libyan institutions to serve this government in order to meet the needs of the Libyan people, in line with the Skhirat agreement and Security Council resolution 2259 (2015).

The measures adopted today are an important first step in support of the national unity government. We are ready to consider, if necessary, the possibility of expanding the sanctions list to other individuals keeping the government from taking office and thereby jeopardizing the unity, security and stability of Libya and its neighbors.



Morocco (April 1, 2016)

The French authorities were appalled to learn that the residence of Morocco’s ambassador to France, Chakib Benmoussa, was the target of a despicable act.

The Prefecture of Police was immediately notified and will work to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of that act, which is deeply contrary to our country’s tradition of hospitality and to the values of the Republic.



Syria – Air strikes against Deir Al-Asafir (March 31, 2016)

France condemns the regime’s air strikes on the outskirts of Damascus on March 31 that left several dozen dead and injured.

This attack, which deliberately targeted civilians, including children, shows that the regime continues to carry out atrocities and violate the truce. This heinous act is intended to terrorize the Syrian people and undermine the international community’s efforts in support of a political solution.

France calls on the regime to immediately cease any and all attacks on civilians and on the moderate opposition in line with international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions. Those responsible must be held accountable.



Turkey – Attack in Diyarbakir (March 31, 2016)

France condemns the car bomb attack on March 31 that targeted a police van in Diyarbakir, leaving at least seven dead and many injured.

We offer our condolences to the victims’ families.

France stands with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.



Turkey ⁄ Freedom of the press – Trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül (Istanbul - April 1, 2016)

The trial of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, editor-in-chief and Ankara bureau chief of the Turkish daily paper Cumhuriyet, resumed today. Our representatives and those of our partners were unable to attend the hearing after the Turkish judicial authorities decided to continue behind closed doors.

France reiterates its dedication to the freedom of expression and freedom of the press worldwide, as these are vital components of the democratic debate.



Colombia – Announcement of the opening of peace talks between the government and the National Liberation Army rebel group

The Colombian government announced the start of peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN).

This announcement renews the momentum toward peace and national reconciliation that the government initiated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) in Cuba, in November 2012

France, which is actively supporting the peace process with the FARC, will fully support this new initiative for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Colombia.



Economic Diplomacy ⁄ Australia – Meeting of International Business Volunteers (April 1, 2016)

France’s ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, is bringing together 40 young international business volunteers with several Australian economic players, including the Trade Commission, companies, and subsidiaries of major groups. The aim is to promote the Volunteering for International Experience (VIE) program and to gain better understanding of the interests of French companies in that country.

For 15 years, VIE volunteers have helped internationalize French companies, particularly small and medium-size businesses. With more than 9,000 young people currently posted abroad, this is a program that allows young people from France to get training, gain professional experience, and be better prepared to enter the job market. Business France, which runs the program, estimates that 30% of high-level executives were international business volunteers early in their careers.

The diplomatic network is working actively worldwide to reach the goal of 10,000 young VIE volunteers by 2017.



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