The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - April 13, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Resumption of inter-Syrian negotiations (Geneva - April 13, 2016) – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

◢  Mali – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Mahamat Saleh Annadif (April 13, 2016)

◢  Lebanon – Meeting between the minister and Sigrid Kaag, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (Paris - April 13, 2016)

◢  China – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Yang Jiechi (Paris - April 13, 2016)

◢  Ukraine – Situation of Nadya Savchenko

◢  Cultural diplomacy – Reopening of Gaza’s Institut Français

◢  Nuclear security – Ratification of the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Vienna - April 8, 2016)

 
Resumption of inter-Syrian negotiations (Geneva - April 13, 2016) – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development

France welcomes the resumption on April 13 in Geneva of the inter-Syrian negotiations, which are taking place at a difficult time. These talks are crucial to making progress toward peace.

On this occasion, I reaffirm our support for the UN special envoy and commend the constructive approach of the opposition, which is engaging in the Geneva negotiations despite the regime’s provocations.

France will judge the position of the Syrian government’s delegation based on its compliance with the framework established by the international community. It must accept the transfer of power needed to establish a transitional government, in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué and UNSCR 2254, in order to restore lasting peace and unity among the Syrian people.

France again expresses its deep concern at the increasing and deliberate violations of the cessation of hostilities, for which the regime bears the primary responsibility, and in the face of the continued obstacles to humanitarian access, notably in the suburbs of Damascus where hundreds of thousands of people continue to live under siege without access to food or medicines. These actions by the Syrian regime, which pose a threat to the Geneva negotiations, must stop.

What’s your view regarding the holding of parliamentary elections in Syria in the areas controlled by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while the UN Security Council is calling for a political transition in the country through the holding of elections throughout the country? Can these elections be considered legitimate in light of the civil war raging in the country?

France denounces the sham elections being held by the regime. They are taking place without a true election campaign, under the auspices of an oppressive regime and without international observation. Only the residents of a small part of the territory are entitled to vote, to the exclusion of millions of Syrians who have been displaced or sought refuge abroad.

As UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura reaffirmed, the only valid elections are those envisaged by resolution 2254, unanimously adopted by the Security Council. These elections should take place after the implementation of a transition, and the adoption of a new constitution. They should be conducted under the auspices of the United Nations and in accordance with international standards of transparency and fairness.



Mali – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Mahamat Saleh Annadif (April 13, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, met today with Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the UN for Mali and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed France’s support for the special representative and congratulated him on his work. He expressed his shock at the death of three French soldiers following a landmine explosion, while they were working to ensure peace and security in the country.

The discussion notably focused on the implementation of the inter-Malian agreement and MINUSMA’s work to stabilize the security situation.

France works closely with the Malian government and the UN, as well as with the other partners of the international community and the EU, to consolidate and ensure the sustainability of the progress already made.



Lebanon – Meeting between the minister and Sigrid Kaag, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (Paris - April 13, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will today receive Sigrid Kaag, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will reaffirm France’s support for Lebanon and its institutions, especially the Lebanese armed forces, in the face of the major internal and regional challenges facing the country. France, together with the International Support Group for Lebanon and the international community, calls on the main Lebanese political actors to overcome their differences in order to allow, as swiftly as possible, the election of a president and the normal functioning of the institutions.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will also discuss the close cooperation between France and the UN, notably within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, as well as assistance from the international community to Lebanon, which is hosting more than a million Syrian refugees.



China – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Yang Jiechi (Paris - April 13, 2016)

This afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomes Yang Jiechi, State Counselor of the People’s Republic of China, who is taking part in the China-France Strategic Dialogue in Paris.

The two men will review major bilateral issues such as structuring partnerships and facilitating mobility between the two countries, and will also discuss major international and regional issues in a context marked by the troubling attitude displayed by North Korea.

This conversation, which precedes the New York signing ceremony for the Paris Climate Agreement, offers an opportunity to underscore our shared determination to strengthen cooperation in the fight against climate disruption.



Ukraine – Situation of Nadya Savchenko

We are concerned about the deteriorating health of Nadya Savchenko, who has been on a dry hunger strike for eight days.

On March 22, Nadya Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in prison by a Russian court. We call on the Russian authorities to abide by their international commitments, including the Minsk agreements, and immediately release Ms. Savchenko.

We also call on Russia to urgently authorize the international medical assistance requested by Nadya Savchenko.



Cultural diplomacy – Reopening of Gaza’s Institut Français

It has been decided to reopen the Institut Français in Gaza, which has been closed for a year and a half. It is the only foreign cultural institution in Gaza.

Its activities will resume gradually, giving the people of Gaza access to the French language and culture.

Although the humanitarian situation remains particularly troubling, this is a way for France to offer the residents of Gaza a message of hope and support



Nuclear security – Ratification of the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (Vienna - April 8, 2016)

A few days after the Nuclear Security Summit, attended by President Hollande, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the required number of states had ratified the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, allowing it to enter into force.

The convention and its amendment are essential tools for combating the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism.

France has actively worked to bring about the entry in force of this amended convention, making nearly 150 diplomatic démarches in 2015-2016 to encourage states to take the necessary measures.



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