The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development

Paris - August 1, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Burundi / Adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2303 – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (July 30, 2016)

◢  Establishment of three new "International tourist zones" (ZTI) – Joint communiqué (July 30, 2016)

◢  Syria (August 1, 2016)

◢  Ukraine – Visit by French Parliamentarians to Crimea

◢  Cuba – Signing of agreement with AFD group (Havana - July 29, 2016)

Burundi / Adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2303 – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (July 30, 2016)

I applaud the UN Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2303 on Burundi. France had been engaged in intense negotiations for months to achieve this result.

This resolution authorizes the deployment of 228 UN police officers with a mandate to monitor and report on the security situation and human rights violations in Burundi. The Security Council could be called upon on an emergency basis should the situation deteriorate.

The Security Council has assumed its responsibilities. The UN can conduct actions to prevent and ease tensions on the ground.

France believes that this situation must continue to be followed closely. I will travel to the region early next week, to Kenya and Tanzania where, among others, I will meet with former President Mkapa, the Burundi crisis mediator, to express my support.

Establishment of three new "International tourist zones" (ZTI) – Joint communiqué (July 30, 2016)

Three new "international tourist zones" (ZTI) have been established in Antibes, Dijon and La Baule under the Growth, Economic Activity and Equal Economic Opportunity Act. The announcement was made by four government officials: Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault; Minister of Labor, Employment, Vocational Training, and Social Dialogue Myriam El Khomri; Minister of the Economy, Industry, and the Digital Sector Emmanuel Macron; and Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism, and French Nationals Abroad Matthias Fekl.

The establishment of these new zones was instigated by the concerned mayors, following studies conducted by the Economy Ministry Their outlines were determined following consultations with the mayors, presidents of the concerned metropolitan areas, labor unions and management associations, and professional employer organizations.

This announcement brings the number of such areas to 21, a little less than a year after the enactment of the Growth Act. Twelve had already been established in Paris (on September 25, 2015) and six in Nice, Cannes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Deauville and Val d'’Europe (on February 5, 2015).

Retail establishments in these areas can stay open later in the evening and on Sundays, as long as collective bargaining agreements are reached guaranteeing compensation and overtime for workers, and employees fully agree to work these hours.

Syria (August 1, 2016)

While the international community pledged to bring about a transition in Syria by August 1, France notes with the utmost concern that this pledge was not followed by effective action.

The Geneva negotiations were suspended due to the regime's intransigence, despite the opposition's constructive proposals. On the ground, the truce and international humanitarian law are routinely flouted. The regime and its supporters are besieging Aleppo, stepping up attacks on civilians and hospitals, and forcing residents to leave the city.

In this tragic situation, the minister of foreign affairs and international development shared his concern with the co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group in a letter to Mr. Kerry and Sergey Lavrov. In it, France solemnly calls for:

  • urgently reestablishing the truce and guaranteeing humanitarian access nationwide, with priority given to besieged areas, to ease the Syrians' suffering and facilitate the resumption of inter-Syrian negotiations
  • stepping up actions against groups on the UN terrorist list. This must not, however, be used as a pretext for striking civilians and eliminating all opposition to the regime
  • the members of the International Syria Support Group to use all their influence to support the transition, in line with their commitments. Only a credible political transition can end the crisis and decisively combat terrorism.

France reiterates its full support for UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, and will continue to do its part to support the efforts of the International Syria Support Group.

Ukraine – Visit by French Parliamentarians to Crimea

Calling borders into question is contrary to international law. That is why the international community, the EU, and France do not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea.

This clear position is in no way contradicted by any visit or statement that does not emanate from the French authorities.

When it comes to a subject that is so extremely important for Europe's security and stability, a sense of responsibility must prevail.

Cuba – Signing of agreement with AFD group (Havana - July 29, 2016)

France welcomes the signing of an agreement by the Cuban foreign trade minister and the French Development Agency (AFD) on July 29 in Havana.

Under this agreement, AFD will be able to fund projects in Cuba. Priority areas include renewable energies, water and sanitation, sustainable tourism, urban development, the agrifoods industry, and transportation. The AFD will open an office in Havana before the end of the year.

This agreement follows a declaration of cooperation and a bilateral agreement on servicing the Cuban debt signed in Paris on February 1 during the Cuban President's state visit to France.

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
f t Flickr Instagram