The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - October 24, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Syria / Chemical weapons / Fourth report by the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (October 21, 2016)

◢  Cameroon / Train crash – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (October 21, 2016)

◢  Turkey / Foreign Minister's trip to Gaziantep – Spokesperson's statement (October 23, 2016)

◢  Russia / Helicopter crash – Spokesperson's statement (October 21, 2016)

◢  Situation in Yemen – Spokesperson's statement (October 22, 2016)

◢  European Union – Meeting between Harlem Désir and Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union (Paris - October 24, 2016)

◢  South Africa – Announcement of the decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court

 
Syria / Chemical weapons / Fourth report by the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (October 21, 2016)

Two consecutive reports by the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) have now unambiguously attributed responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Syrian army and Daesh have used chemical weapons on civilians at least three times. These actions are inhuman and unacceptable.

For France, it is unacceptable to allow the use of chemical weapons in Syria—now indisputably established by the UN's Joint Investigative Mechanism—to remain unpunished.

What I want to see is a UN Security Council resolution that clearly condemns these crimes under Chapter VII and imposes sanctions on the perpetrators. The members of the Security Council unanimously agreed to establish the Joint Investigative Mechanism; it is therefore up to them to act in accordance with the reports issued by that mechanism.

In 2013, the Security Council stated that those responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria had to be held accountable for their actions. We call on all our Security Council partners to assume their responsibilities in this regard.



Cameroon / Train crash – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault (October 21, 2016)

I was saddened to learn of the tragic train crash between Yaounde and Douala on October 21 that left 55 dead and many injured, according to the latest report.

My thoughts go out to the victims of this terrible accident, and to their families and loved ones.

There was, alas, one French victim. Our Embassy and consular services are fully mobilized.

I want to express France’s complete total solidarity in these painful circumstances. We are standing by Cameroon in this tragedy.



Turkey / Foreign Minister's trip to Gaziantep – Spokesperson's statement (October 23, 2016)

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault, who is currently in Turkey, arrived in Gaziantep where he met with humanitarian actors who are working each day to ease the suffering of the Syrian people. He will visit the Nizip refugee camp, which has welcomed a large number of Syrians.

France reiterates its support for all humanitarian workers who are helping the Syrian people on a daily basis, often risking their lives to do so. We stress the urgent need to achieve a lasting cessation of hostilities to allow humanitarian aid to reach the populations that need it, and the resumption of a political process, as provided by UN Security Council resolution 2254.



Russia / Helicopter crash – Spokesperson's statement (October 21, 2016)

We were saddened to learn of the helicopter crash in Russia that killed 19 people, according to the latest reports on October 22.

France offers its condolences to the loved ones of the victims of this tragedy and wishes those injured a speedy recovery.

We assure Russia of our solidarity in this tragedy.



Situation in Yemen – Spokesperson's statement (October 22, 2016)

France deplores the numerous violations of the 72-hour cease-fire that became effective during the night of October 19. It calls on all the parties to fully abide by it and to agree to its renewal in order to give every opportunity to the mediation process currently being led by UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

France reiterates its full support for the special envoy’s efforts to swiftly resolve the conflict, whose continuation has deadly consequences each day for the Yemeni people. It emphasizes that the parties must resume negotiations as swiftly as possible. Only a political solution will make it possible to permanently end the crisis in Yemen



European Union – Meeting between Harlem Désir and Julian King, Commissioner for the Security Union (Paris - October 24, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will meet today with Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union, during his first visit to France.

The discussions will focus in particular on the fight against terrorism, the EU Directive on Firearms, and the revision of the Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).



South Africa – Announcement of the decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court

The South African authorities have announced their intention to start the process to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

Together with its European partners, France expresses its concern and its regret at this decision. Indeed, the fight against impunity is key to making reconciliation and lasting peace possible.

We urge South Africa, which is one of the founding states of the International Criminal Court and which plays an exemplary role in defending human rights, to reconsider its decision. We strongly encourage it to engage in a constructive dialogue on the functioning of the court and the international criminal justice system in order to explore ways to take its concerns into account.


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