The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - April 8, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Tourism – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

◢  Japan ⁄ G7 – Visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault (April 9-12, 2016)

◢  Economic diplomacy ⁄ Singapore – Visit by Matthias Fekl (April 7-8, 2016)

◢  Nigeria – Arrest of Ansaruís leader

◢  Israel ⁄ Palestinian Territories – Resumption of security wall construction in Cremisan Valley

◢  Libya – Telephone conversations between Jean-Marc Ayrault, Fayez Sarraj, and Martin Kobler (April 7, 2016)

 
Tourism – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

I welcome the excellent tourism figures for 2015; France welcomed 84.5 million international visitors last year, representing an increase of 0.9% over one year. This increase is mainly due to the dramatic increase in the number of Asian tourists (+22.7%). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development is committed to enhancing Franceís attractiveness and making it easier for tourists to visit our country, including by improving the visa application process.

The attacks in Paris in November hindered this progress, especially in the capital. I remain committed, alongside the mayor and the Paris councilors, the elected representatives of the Ile-de-France region as well as tourism professionals, to actively promoting France as a tourist destination following these events. My goal remains to attract 100 million foreign tourists per year to France from 2020 onwards.

For more information and detailed figures, please visit: http://diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/politique-etrangere-de-la-france/tourisme/article/tourisme-statistiques-du-tourisme-international-vers-la-france-en-2015



Japan ⁄ G7 – Visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault (April 9-12, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will visit Japan from April 9 to 12.

He will take part in the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hiroshima on April 10 and 11. This meeting will notably provide an opportunity to take stock of the fight against terrorism, the follow-up to the Paris Climate Agreement and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, notably following North Koreaís recent provocations.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will then be received for a bilateral visit to Tokyo by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as by his counterpart, Fumio Kishida. They will discuss major international issues and our bilateral cooperation, notably in the field of civilian nuclear power and our joint actions with respect to sustainable development, health and security in Africa. During this visit, Jean-Marc Ayrault will inaugurate the "Bonjour France" initiative, devoted to promoting the French art of living. He will meet with tourism professionals, Japanese economic actors, as well as the French community.

This visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen the special partnership that has existed between France and Japan since 2013.



Economic diplomacy ⁄ Singapore – Visit by Matthias Fekl (April 7-8, 2016)

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, will visit Singapore from April 7 to 8 to develop our bilateral trade, notably within the framework of the strategic partnership between France and Singapore. The goal of this visit is also to promote and improve awareness of French creativity and innovation during the "Creative France" campaign.

He will meet with Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, as well as with Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport. He will moderate a panel discussion on tourism, with Atout Franceís regional office in Singapore having opened a few months ago.

During this visit, Matthias Fekl will inaugurate the new buildings of the French Lycée in Singapore, which, in terms of the number of students, is one of the largest schools in the Agency for French Education Abroad network.



Nigeria – Arrest of Ansaruís leader

France congratulates the Nigerian authorities on the arrest of Khalid al-Barnawi, leader of the terrorist group Ansaru, on April 1, 2016.

We commend this action by the Nigerian security and defense forces which, with the support of the countries in the region, are carrying out large-scale operations on the ground to combat terrorist groups such as Ansaru and Boko Haram.

France supports Nigeria and its neighbors in the fight against terrorism.



Israel ⁄ Palestinian Territories – Resumption of security wall construction in Cremisan Valley

France is concerned by the Israeli authoritiesí resumption of construction of the separation wall in the Westí Bankís Cremisan Valley, which will affect several dozen Palestinian families in Beit Jala. This wall is a new obstacle to economic and social development in the town of Bethlehem.

According to the opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on July 9, 2004, building the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal under international law.

We consequently ask Israel to reverse this decision.



Libya – Telephone conversations between Jean-Marc Ayrault, Fayez Sarraj, and Martin Kobler (April 7, 2016)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault spoke by phone today with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj and Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-Generalís special representative.

He applauded the progress made in the political process with the establishment of the Libyan Prime Minister and members of the Presidential Council in Tripoli. He hailed Mr. Sarrajís courage and the high caliber of the work achieved in the past year by the UN Support Mission in Libya led by Mr. Kobler. The foreign minister reaffirmed Franceís total determination to support the national unity government. He reiterated that France is prepared to respond to requests for help from Mr. Sarrajís government, particularly in the area of security, in cooperation with its partners and the UN.

He expressed his wish for our ambassador go to Tripoli as soon as possible to support the national unity government.



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