The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and International Development

Paris - November 7, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Germany – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bodo Ramelow, Minister President of Thuringia (Paris - November 8, 2016)

◢  Hungary – Harlem Désir traveling to Budapest (November 7-8, 2016)

◢  Syria – Bombing of a daycare center in Harasta (November 6, 2016)

◢  Mali – Attack on MINUSMA (November 5, 2016)

◢  Rwanda

◢  Middle East peace process

◢  Israel - Palestinian Territories

◢  Democratic Republic of Congo

◢  Egypt

Germany – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bodo Ramelow, Minister President of Thuringia (Paris - November 8, 2016)

On November 8, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault will receive Bodo Ramelow, Minister President of the State of Thuringia.

This meeting will provide the opportunity to reiterate France's commitment to the educational cooperation that has existed between the Hauts-de-France region and Thuringia since 1994, and to discuss major current issues.

Hungary – Harlem Désir traveling to Budapest (November 7-8, 2016)

Harlem Désir, minister of state for European affairs, will be in Budapest on November 7 and 8.

He will meet with Hungarian Foreign Minister Pèter Szijjàrtò and his counterpart in charge of European affairs, Szabolcs Takàcs. Conversations will focus on the future of the European Union and major international issues, as well as bilateral economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.

At commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of the Budapest uprising, Mr. Désir will pay tribute to the heroism of the Hungarian resistance and recall the thousands of refugees who, fleeing oppression, found refuge in France. He will lay a wreath in memory of Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini, the French Paris Match journalist who was fatally injured while covering the uprising, and will underscore France's commitment to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists in armed conflicts.

Syria – Bombing of a daycare center in Harasta (November 6, 2016)

We were horrified to hear reports of the bombing attributed to the Damascus regime of a daycare center in Harasta on November 6. It allegedly left many dead, including several children.

Should this report prove true, it calls for France's strongest condemnation.

We reiterate our call to do everything possible to implement a political solution in Syria in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254 and the Geneva communiqué.

Mali – Attack on MINUSMA (November 5, 2016)

France strongly condemns the attack carried out on November 5 against a MINUSMA convoy in the Mopti region. Three were killed, including one UN peacekeeper, and seven injured.

France offers its condolences to the victims' families and to the authorities of Togo and Mali. It applauds MINUSMA's exemplary commitment to strengthening peace.

We assure Mali of our solidarity in the fight against terrorism. France calls on all the parties to assume their responsibilities so that the peace process, and particularly its security and political components, may move forward concretely and on schedule.


Rwanda's National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has just published a list of 22 French officers whom it blames for being actively complicit in the massacre. What is France's reaction?

Let me remind you of the communiqué of the French Presidency on April 7, 2014, marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide: (...) "the Rwandan genocide was one of the worst atrocities of our time. The world was aware that it was being committed and was unable to prevent it. It was an affront to our humanity and our consciences. It is our duty to do everything we can to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. Preventing genocides has become a cornerstone of France's efforts abroad. It inspires our interventions in Africa and our efforts at the UN Security Council to limit the use of the veto for mass crimes."

Furthermore, in order to impartially shed light on these events, France actively supported the establishment in November 1994 of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, created by the UN Security Council. Under the obligations flowing from Security Council resolution 955, France has closely cooperated with the tribunal. It was established in November 1994, and in May 1996, we adopted a law to recognize its primacy over French jurisdictions.

Middle East peace process

Will the conference to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process be held in December as planned?

As President Hollande said during his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 20, our goal is to hold an international conference by the end of the year to help restart the Middle East peace process.

We are working closely with our partners, and in conjunction with the parties, to that end. The foreign minister's special envoy, Pierre Vimont, is in fact visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories right now.

Israel - Palestinian Territories

What is your response to the announcement that a building permit was approved for the Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem?

France condemns the approval, on November 2, of the permit to build 181 homes in the Gilo settlement in East Jerusalem. This decision comes amid a troubling acceleration of settlement activity in recent months.

Settlements are illegal under international law and seriously undermine peace efforts by lessening prospects for a two-state solution, the only possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Radio Okapi and RF's radio signals were interrupted in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Does France plan to respond?

Cutting Radio Okapi and RFI's radio signals on November 5 and 6 in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi was unacceptable.

We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom of the press and the right to information, key components of any democratic society.


What's your reaction to the travel ban handed down by the Egyptian courts against the attorney and human rights activist Malek Adly when he was about to travel to France to attend an event organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network?

We regret that Mr. Adly was unable to attend his meeting in France.

We hope that his rights will be restored in the near future, including his right to travel.

We reiterate our commitment to the respect of fundamental liberties, particularly the freedoms of opinion and expression.

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