The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - October 3, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Syria / Situation in Aleppo – Reminder of the statement issued by Jean-Marc Ayrault on October 1

◢  China / Economic diplomacy – 24th French-Chinese Joint Commission on Trade and Investment. (Paris - October 3, 2016)

◢  Italy – Visit by Harlem Désir to Rome (October 3, 2016)

◢  Syria – Launch of an "emergency humanitarian initiative" for Aleppo by the EU

◢  Israel – Approval of two settlement projects by the Israeli authorities (September 28, 2016)

◢  Yemen – Situation on the ground

◢  Libya – Death of photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans in Sirte (Octobre 2, 2016)

◢  Development – celebration of World Habitat Day (Octobre 3, 2016)

 
Syria / Situation in Aleppo – Reminder of the statement issued by Jean-Marc Ayrault on October 1

I utterly condemn the bombing targeted against the M10 hospital, one of Aleppo's main hospitals, this morning.

In the deluge of violence that has been overwhelming Aleppo for several days now, the systematic targeting of medical facilities and personnel is especially despicable. As the UN secretary-general reaffirmed, these attacks constitute war crimes. Their perpetrators must be held accountable.

This fresh attack only serves to confirm that a cessation of hostilities in Aleppo and access by the civilian populations to the humanitarian assistance they desperately need are of the utmost urgency. As we speak, France is working at the Security Council to put an end to this unacceptable tragedy.

Will the French resolution on Aleppo be presented at the UN Security Council today?

As Jean-Marc Ayrault announced, France has spearheaded a draft resolution at the UN Security Council which is being discussed with our partners.

The goal of this resolution is to respond to the emergency situation in Syria, and in particular to put an end to the suffering in Aleppo, which is being besieged and heavily bombed by the Syrian regime and its supporters.

The priority must be to silence the weapons, ensure a lasting truce by implementing a collective mechanism to monitor the cessation of hostilities, and immediately ensure unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to all populations in need, including in the besieged areas.

France, in collaboration with its Security Council partners, is fully committed to making this happen as swiftly as possible.



China / Economic diplomacy – 24th French-Chinese Joint Commission on Trade and Investment. (Paris - October 3, 2016)

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will today receive Gao Hucheng, Minister of Trade of the People's Republic of China, for the 24th French-Chinese Joint Commission on Trade and Investment.

The joint commission is a forum for high-level discussions which is held alternately in France and China every year. It provides an opportunity to address in an open and practical manner all trade and investment-related issues between France and China. This year, the commission will notably focus on boosting our trade, support for cross-investment, market access issues and partnerships in the new growth sectors.



Italy – Visit by Harlem Désir to Rome (October 3, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will visit Rome on October 3, at the invitation of his counterpart, Sandro Gozi, in order to take part in the meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers of the "Group of Friends of the Rule of Law."

The goal of this meeting is to contribute to discussions about defense and the promotion of the rule of law within the EU.

Harlem Désir will then speak during an open conference in the Italian Senate on the topic of “Europe: the rule of law and the human rights situation.” During his speech, he will reaffirm France's commitment to defending and promoting the fundamental values that are central to the European project.



Syria – Launch of an "emergency humanitarian initiative" for Aleppo by the EU

France fully supports the EU's emergency humanitarian initiative for Aleppo announced by High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Christos Stylianides. The civilian population of Aleppo is being targeted by the regime and its supporters—primarily Russia. The suffering being endured is unspeakable. Hospitals and humanitarian workers are being targeted. The needs are enormous.

Humanitarian assistance—food, water, medicines—must be urgently delivered to the populations in eastern Aleppo: The humanitarian convoy announced by the high representative should make it possible to reach 130,000 people. We call on Russia to take the appropriate measures to ensure that the obstacles to humanitarian access are removed. The evacuation of the injured and sick must also be allowed.



Israel – Approval of two settlement projects by the Israeli authorities (September 28, 2016)

France condemns the recent approval of settlement plans involving the construction of 98 homes near the settlement of Shilo in the northern West Bank and the creation of an industrial zone near Ramallah.

France reaffirms that settlement activity is illegal under international law and that it undermines the two-state solution which remains the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



Yemen – Situation on the ground

France strongly condemns the attack against a UAE vessel on September 30 carried out by the Houthis, and reaffirms the importance of the principle of the freedom of navigation in the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

France reaffirms the urgent need to reach a political solution, the only way to prevent a further deterioration in the humanitarian and security situation and to effectively combat terrorism. As such, the formation of a so-called "national salvation" government by the Houthis on October 2 runs counter to the inter-Yemeni negotiation process.

In this regard, we reaffirm our full support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh, with whom we are in regular contact.



Libya – Death of photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans in Sirte (Octobre 2, 2016)

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death, on October 2, of the Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans while he was covering the liberation of Sirte from Daesh occupation, an operation conducted by forces loyal to the national unity government.

A photographer with experience working in conflict zones, particularly Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Libya, Jeroen Oerlemans was universally hailed for his talent and courage. Despite the danger, he wanted to serve as a witness and help inform international opinion.

France offers its condolences to his family and loved ones and reiterates that protecting journalists as they exercise their profession is one of our foreign policy priorities. Indeed, France originated resolution 2222 of May 27, 2015, on stepping up the protection of journalists in conflict situations. In the face of growing threats against journalists and the media, particularly in crisis situations, our diplomatic network is mobilizing its efforts in multilateral bodies and on the ground.



Development – celebration of World Habitat Day (Octobre 3, 2016)

On World Habitat Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development is underscoring the importance it ascribes to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 goal of making "cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable." It is one of the 17 sustainable development goals adopted in September 2015 by the entire international community.

In 2030, the number of city-dwellers will have tripled, and about 60% of all people will live in cities. Some 15 new megalopolises will have emerged whose population will exceed 10 million inhabitants.

The Habitat III conference, the third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will be held in Quito, Ecuador, from October 17-20. It will establish a new global urban agenda setting the international framework for the next 20 years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, part of the French partnership for cities and regions, has mobilized its efforts to implement this agenda, particularly by opposing urban exclusion and supporting the environmental and energy transition.

For more information on the French presence at Habitat III, visit http://www.pfvt.fr/fr/un-habitat-2016/la-conference-habitat-iii.


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