The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - June 13, 2016
In this issue:

◢  United States / Homophobia – Reminder of the statement issued by Jean-Marc Ayrault (June 12, 2016)

◢  Environment / The Arctic – Jean-Marc Ayrault's participation in the presentation of the national roadmap for the Arctic (June 14, 2016)

◢  Congo – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart Jean-Claude Gakosso (June 14, 2016)

◢  Economic diplomacy – Jean-Marc Ayrault's participation in the 2nd forum on the international expansion of SMEs (June 14, 2016)

◢  Greece – Meeting between Harlem Désir and Nikos Pappas, Greek Minister of State (Paris - June 13, 2016)

◢  Germany / Poland – Consultations held by the ministers of state for European affairs in the Weimar format (Warsaw - June 13-14, 2016)

◢  Human rights – World Day Against Child Labor (June 12, 2016)

◢  Syria – Aerial bombardment (June 12, 2016)

◢  Venezuela – Cultural diplomacy (June 13-19, 2016)

◢  Middle East peace process

 
United States / Homophobia – Reminder of the statement issued by Jean-Marc Ayrault (June 12, 2016)

I was extremely shocked to learn of the shooting rampage that took place on Saturday night in Orlando, which exacted a terrible toll.

My thoughts go first of all to the victims' families, to whom I extend my condolences, as well as to the many wounded, whom I wish a speedy recovery.

I express my wholehearted solidarity with the American people and their authorities in this dreadful ordeal. In the face of such an event, France stands alongside the United States.



Environment / The Arctic – Jean-Marc Ayrault's participation in the presentation of the national roadmap for the Arctic (June 14, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will chair an event on June 14 to present the national roadmap for the Arctic; the event will be attended by Michel Rocard, former Prime Minister and Ambassador responsible for Polar Issues, as well as scientists, elected representatives, and representatives of businesses and NGOs.

This roadmap is the culmination of the work conducted under the leadership of Michel Rocard since 2013 to strengthen France's contribution to international cooperation in this region and to better coordinate our efforts with our partners, notably the five Arctic littoral states (the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the Russian Federation). France is actively involved in this issue, notably within the Arctic Council's forum for intergovernmental cooperation and several technical and scientific forums.

The Arctic region, which is changing rapidly as a result of retreating ice caused by global warming and the eventual opening up of new oceanic routes, is of great scientific, environmental, economic and strategic interest. France calls for the application of high environmental standards with respect to this unique ecosystem.



Congo – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart Jean-Claude Gakosso (June 14, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will meet on June 14 with Jean-Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Congolese Nationals Abroad of the Republic of Congo.

They will discuss key regional issues, notably the situation in the Central African Republic, where Congo has a contingent of 1,000 men in the UN mission.

Mr. Ayrault and Mr. Gakosso will take stock of the situation in Congo and the various aspects of our bilateral relations.



Economic diplomacy – Jean-Marc Ayrault's participation in the 2nd forum on the international expansion of SMEs (June 14, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will deliver the closing speech at the 2nd forum on the international expansion of SMEs on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

The first edition of this forum in March 2015 provided an opportunity to present an action plan developed in collaboration with all stakeholders in French foreign trade to almost 400 SMEs. The process to implement this plan is almost complete, notably following the launch of the France-international.fr web portal, the introduction of a single point of access for customs services and the reform of financial tools to support export activities. Between now and 2017, more than 3,000 SMEs will receive support through the consular networks and Business France and 10,000 young people will take part in the Volontaires internationaux en entreprises [International Volunteers in Business] program.

The 2016 edition of the forum will be opened and chaired by Matthias Fekl and will focus on innovations in the export field, whether through the use of digital tools (e-export) or through the development of new forms of export cooperation, notably with respect to the support that major groups can provide SMEs.

This forum is one of the events being organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development to support SMEs. It will be followed by another speed-dating event (#1ambassadeur1entrepreneur) on August 29, during Ambassadors' Week.

For more information, please visit: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/politique-etrangere-de-la-france/diplomatie-economique-et-commerce-exterieur/soutenir-les-entreprises-francaises-a-l-etranger/le-parcours-de-l-export-dispositif-de-soutien-a-l-internationalisation-des/article/le-forum-des-pme-a-l-international



Greece – Meeting between Harlem Désir and Nikos Pappas, Greek Minister of State (Paris - June 13, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, received Nikos Pappas, Greek Minister of State on June 13, 2016.

Mr. Désir and Mr. Pappas discussed our bilateral relations, notably in the economic sphere, in accordance with the "strategic partnership for the future" adopted during President Hollande's visit to Greece in October 2015.

They took stock of the economic situation in Greece and the implementation of the third French program to provide aid and French technical assistance. They also discussed the flow of refugees and migrants and the European response.



Germany / Poland – Consultations held by the ministers of state for European affairs in the Weimar format (Warsaw - June 13-14, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Michael Roth, and Konrad Szymanski, the French, German and Polish ministers of state for European affairs, will meet in Warsaw from June 13 to 14 for consultations in the Weimar Triangle format.

They will take stock of key current European issues and will discuss the role that the Weimar Triangle can play in helping the EU address the challenges threatening its cohesion.

Harlem Désir, Michael Roth, and Konrad Szymanski will take part in a debate with researchers on the European vision of the Weimar Triangle, hosted by the Polish Institute of International Affairs.



Human rights – World Day Against Child Labor (June 12, 2016)

On the occasion of World Day Against Child Labor, France reaffirms its commitment, notably within the International Labor Organization, to combating this scourge.

The international community's resolute action has made it possible to reduce the number of children concerned by one third since 2000, but 168 million children are still affected, including 85 million involved in hazardous labor.

France calls on all states to ratify and implement the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to ensure that their rights are respected, especially the right to education.



Syria – Aerial bombardment (June 12, 2016)

France strongly condemns the air raids carried out against the cities of Idlib and Maaret al-Numan, which killed more than 20 civilians including several children.

The continued bombing by the regime and its supporters flouts the commitments made collectively in Vienna on May 17 to restore the truce.

As Jean-Marc Ayrault indicated during his visit to the UN headquarters in New York, there is an urgent need to implement the cessation of hostilities, bring an immediate end to the bombing of civilians and ensure continuous, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access. The negotiations between the regime and the opposition must resume in order to reach a political solution, which, in accordance with UNSCR 2254, is the only way to put an end to the conflict.



Venezuela – Cultural diplomacy (June 13-19, 2016)

The Embassy of France in Caracas is hosting the second edition of the "France Week in Venezuela" from June 13 to 19, 2016.

Around 30 themed booths, an auditorium, a movie theater, a children's pavilion, a mini soccer field, and a performance space have been set up at the "Plazia Francia," in the heart of Caracas.

More than a hundred activities will showcase our country's attractiveness in the economic, cultural, linguistic and sports fields. The "France-Venezuela Catwalk" contest will feature innovative designs by young Venezuelan fashion designers, who have been focusing on the theme of Impressionism, in conjunction with the exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay.

While Venezuela is going through a troubling political crisis, this event is aimed at reaching a wide range of audiences throughout the city. Photos by Frédéric de La Mure—the Quai d'Orsay's official photographer—on the effects of climate disruption will be displayed on the gates of our embassy.



Middle East peace process

Can you confirm that Ambassador Pierre Vimont, Paris's Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, will visit Cairo on Wednesday? If so, what are the expectations for this visit and what is his agenda?

We are in close contact with all of our partners, notably Egypt and the Arab League.

We confirm that Pierre Vimont, Special Envoy of the Minister, will visit Cairo on Wednesday, June 15. He will have meetings with the Egyptian authorities and the secretary-general of the Arab League on the follow-up to the meeting in Paris on June 3 and on the next steps in the initiative to relaunch the peace process.



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