The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development

Paris - April 18, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Russia – Visit to Moscow by the minister of foreign affairs and international development (April 19, 2016)

◢  Morocco – Visit by Harlem Désir (April 18, 2016)

◢  Iraq – Political situation

◢  Syria – Threats to the truce

◢  Ecuador – Earthquake (April 18, 2016)

Russia – Visit to Moscow by the minister of foreign affairs and international development (April 19, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will visit Moscow on April 19, 2016. He will be received by President Vladimir Putin and by his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

During this first visit to Moscow as minister of foreign affairs, he will discuss our bilateral relations and the main crises, notably in Syria, Libya and Ukraine, as well as the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.

With respect to Ukraine, the two ministers will take stock of developments in the situation since the ministerial meeting in the Normandy format on March 3 and will discuss the next stages in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. Mr. Ayrault will express to his counterpart his concern about the continued fighting on the ground.

Jean-Marc Ayrault will also meet with the French business community and several civil society organizations.

Morocco – Visit by Harlem Désir (April 18, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, is visiting Rabat. He will notably discuss with Nasser Bourita, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, relations between Morocco and the EU and the role that France is playing in order to facilitate this dialogue.

He will take stock, together with Lemghari Essakl, Managing Director of the Bouregreg Valley Development Agency, of the support that France and the EU may be able to lend sustainable urban development projects in Morocco.

Harlem Désir will meet with Driss El Yazami, Chairman of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), with whom he will notably discuss the ongoing cooperation between the CNDH and France's National Advisory Commission on Human Rights, within the framework of a twinning project financed by the EU.

Lastly, Harlem Désir will represent the French government at the inauguration of the major retrospective exhibition of the works of Alberto Giacometti at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, of which the Institut français of Morocco is a partner. This exceptional exhibition will be held under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, President Hollande and President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann.

Iraq – Political situation

While the political crisis in Iraq is continuing, France calls on all parties concerned to work together in order to swiftly find a negotiated solution, in accordance with the Iraqi constitution and democratic principles.

All Iraqis must come together in order to continue to combat and destroy Daesh.

France stands alongside Iraq.

Syria – Threats to the truce

France expresses its utmost concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, particularly in Aleppo, where several dozen people have died over the last few days. By continuing its bombing raids, including against civilians and moderate groups, the regime bears the primary responsibility for the violations of the cessation of hostilities, which have recently resulted in tens of thousands of newly displaced persons.

We also express our concern at the challenges involved in delivering humanitarian assistance, notably in the suburbs of Damascus, where the Syrian regime is preventing the distribution of food and medicines to hundreds of thousands of people.

As Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed, these actions by the regime pose a threat to the Geneva negotiations. The regime has a responsibility to actively participate in the political negotiations for a transition, in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué and UNSCR 2254, in order to restore lasting peace in Syria.

Ecuador – Earthquake (April 18, 2016)

On April 17, President Hollande and Jean-Marc Ayrault expressed France's solidarity with Ecuador. The earthquake took the lives of hundreds of people and left thousands injured.

We are coordinating with our partners, particularly those in Europe, to provide Ecuador with all necessary assistance. We have offered the support of French civil security services and stand ready to examine any request for emergency humanitarian assistance from the Ecuadorian authorities.

The French Embassy is in contact with the Ecuadorian authorities and with French nationals in that country, in order to come to their aid.

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