The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - December 12, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Syria / White Helmets – Reminder of the joint statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Frank Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany (December 9, 2016)

◢  United Nations / Syria – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 9, 2016)

◢  Turkey / Attack in Istanbul – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 11, 2016)

◢  Egypt / Attack against a Coptic church in Cairo – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 11, 2016)

◢  Gambia – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson (December 10, 2016)

◢  Ghana / Election of Nana Akufo-Addo as President of the Republic – Statement by the Ministry spokesperson (December 10, 2016)

◢  Turkey / Attack in Istanbul (December 10, 2016) – Update

◢  Nigeria – Terrorist attacks (December 9-11, 2016)

◢  Somalia – Attack (December 11, 2016)

◢  Bahrain – Opposition leader's sentence upheld on appeal (December 12, 2016)

 
Syria / White Helmets – Reminder of the joint statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Frank Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany (December 9, 2016)

International Human Rights Day on December 10 calls upon all of us to defend the rights of the Syrian people.

We are deeply concerned by reports that civilians involved in civil protection and civil administration groups in the eastern part of Aleppo are being arrested, tortured and sometimes killed by elements associated with the regime when they try to leave the city.

Members of organizations such as the White Helmets, to whom France and Germany awarded the French-German Prize for Human Rights this year, risk their lives every day to help other people survive. We pay tribute to their courage and their selflessness.

We call on the regime and its supporters to guarantee the safe evacuation of the members of the White Helmets who want to leave. Civilians must be allowed to escape the war zone safely and without hindrance. Under international humanitarian law, there are strict legal obligations to protect civilians in situations of armed conflict.



United Nations / Syria – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 9, 2016)

I welcome the adoption by the UN General Assembly by a large majority of a resolution denouncing the dire humanitarian crisis in Aleppo.

In addition, this important text reaffirms the primacy of a political solution over a military approach in the Syrian crisis, which has gone on for almost six years now.

I warmly congratulate Canada on proposing this initiative, which offers the international community an opportunity to send a strong message at a critical time in the Syrian conflict. France actively supported this initiative by taking several measures.

It is never too late to save lives and help the populations who are suffering. It is up to the regime and its supporters, especially Russia, to respond without delay to the demands put forward by the General Assembly today.

France is not giving up. Together with its partners from the like-minded countries, it is hosting a ministerial meeting tomorrow in Paris in order to continue the joint efforts to put an end to the terrible ordeal being endured by the Syrian people.



Turkey / Attack in Istanbul – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 11, 2016)

Yesterday evening in Istanbul, Turkey was hit once again by terrorism.

I utterly condemn this heinous act and extend my condolences to the victims' families and to the Turkish people.

In the face of the scourge of terrorism, France stands alongside Turkey.



Egypt / Attack against a Coptic church in Cairo – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 11, 2016)

I was appalled to learn of the heinous attack targeted against St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo this morning during Sunday mass, which left a large number of people dead.

I extend my condolences to their families and wish the injured a speedy recovery. France expresses its full solidarity with Egypt in this terrible ordeal, as well as in the fight against terrorism.



Gambia – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson (December 10, 2016)

France expresses its deep concern following the statements by President Jammeh, who is calling the results of the presidential election on December 1 and Adama Barrow's victory into question.

The Gambian people's decision must be unequivocally accepted by all Gambian parties concerned.

France calls on all parties to remain calm. It calls on outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to ensure a peaceful transition of power.



Ghana / Election of Nana Akufo-Addo as President of the Republic – Statement by the Ministry spokesperson (December 10, 2016)

France warmly congratulates Mr. Nana Akufo-Addo on his election as President of the Republic of Ghana.

This election once again does credit to Ghana's democratic tradition. We pay tribute to the outgoing President, John Mahama.

France hopes to expand its partnership with Ghana, which has intensified in recent years.



Turkey / Attack in Istanbul (December 10, 2016) – Update

Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault condemned the heinous attack committed in Istanbul and expressed France's solidarity to the Turkish authorities and the families of the victims.

One of our compatriots was among the injured.

Our consul-general visited him yesterday and is in close touch with his family, to whom we offer our full support.



Nigeria – Terrorist attacks (December 9-11, 2016)

Northeastern Nigeria was struck by two terrorist attacks on December 9 and 11 that left dozens dead and injured.

We offer our condolences to the victims' families and to the Nigerian people.

France condemns these heinous acts and denounces in the strongest possible terms the despicable use of children in these attacks. It stands alongside Nigeria in the face of terrorism.



Somalia – Attack (December 11, 2016)

France condemns the attack committed on December 11 in Mogadishu that killed nearly 20 civilians and injured many others, according to preliminary estimates.

We offer the Somali people our full solidarity in this latest ordeal.

This tragedy comes at a crucial moment for the future of Somalia and the Somalis. It is essential for the current election process, which is to conclude by year's end, to be carried through to completion. It is a vital prerequisite for guaranteeing the strengthening of institutions and restoring security throughout the country.

France stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Somali authorities.



Bahrain – Opposition leader's sentence upheld on appeal (December 12, 2016)

France notes with concern the upholding of the nine-year prison sentence for al-Wefaq's secretary-general, Sheikh Ali Salman, whose movement—the main opposition party—was dissolved in July by the courts.

It is vital to create conditions that foster the resumption of an expanded political dialogue, which is essential to national reconciliation.

France reiterates its commitment to the freedom of opinion and expression throughout the world, and to the right to a just and fair trial.


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