The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development

Paris - April 4, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Germany – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (April 5, 2016)

◢  Republic of Congo

◢  Syria

◢  Nagorno-Karabakh

Germany – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (April 5, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at La Celle Saint-Cloud on April 5, 2016, for a meeting aimed at strengthening our working relations.

The two ministers will discuss the major current European and international issues. They will work on strengthening French-German cooperation in order to help respond to the challenges facing Europe. They will notably discuss migration issues, the situation in Ukraine and in the Middle East, as well as security and defense issues. Mr. Ayrault and Mr. Steinmeier will notably take stock of the serious incidents that took place in Nagorno-Karabakh along the ceasefire line.

They will also prepare for the French-German Council of Ministers meeting on April 7 in Metz, which will be chaired by President Hollande and the German chancellor.

Republic of Congo

The situation in Brazzaville is deteriorating (shooting, fighting), while the Constitutional Court is preparing to validate the results of the presidential elections which are being contested by the opposition which has complained of widespread fraud. What is France’s position?

We are concerned by the violent events that took place last night in certain districts of Brazzaville, where shots, including heavy weapon gunfire, were heard.

Our embassy immediately provided our citizens in the area with safety instructions and urged them to exercise caution and to remain at home. The French lycée is closed today.

We will continue to monitor the situation very closely. We call for restraint.


Do you agree with Moscow’s analysis that Bashar al-Assad’s fate should be decided at a later stage by the parties involved in the Syrian conflict?

The Geneva Communiqué and UNSCR 2254 of December 18, 2015, provides for the establishment, within six months, of a transitional body with full executive powers, that will lead to constitutional reform and free and fair elections within 18 months.

Please refer to the remarks made by the minister on April 1: "We should keep the institutions that are acceptable to the opposition and a number of the regime’s elements, but in the long term, Bashar al-Assad must leave. At the end of the process, it’s very clear that he will not be able to remain as the country’s leader."


What measures has France taken as a member of the Minsk Group to ease tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Through President Hollande, the French authorities called for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday, April 2.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, spoke on the telephone with his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, on the same day. He advised him of our deep concern at the fighting currently taking place along the line of contact, underscored that there could be no military solution and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. He reaffirmed the urgent need to find a peaceful and lasting solution. He reiterated to his counterpart France’s determination to continue its efforts to that end within the framework of its co-presidency with the United States and Russia of the Minsk Group. Jean-Marc Ayrault will speak on the telephone this afternoon with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Elmar Mammadyarov, to whom he will convey the same messages from France.

The co-chairs of the Minsk Group, Ambassador Pierre Andrieu and his American and Russian colleagues, also condemned the use of force and called for the ceasefire to be respected. They will meet with the Minsk Group on April 5 in Vienna and will take part in the OSCE Permanent Council meeting.

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