The Daily Press Briefing

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


Paris - December 13, 2016
In this issue:

◢  Situation in Aleppo – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 13, 2016)

◢  European Union – Harlem Désir's participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels - December 13, 2016)

◢  Bolivia – Meeting between Matthias Fekl and the Bolivian minister of planning and development (Paris - December 13, 2016)

◢  Azerbaijan – Eighth session of the French-Azerbaijani Intergovernmental Commission (Paris - December 13, 2016)

◢  Yemen – Attack in Aden (December 10, 2016)

◢  Press Freedom – Reporters Sans Frontières report (December 13, 2016)

◢  Miscellaneous

 
Situation in Aleppo – Reminder of the statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (December 13, 2016)

While the suffering in Aleppo continues, we are receiving allegations of widespread abuse perpetrated by the forces that support Bashar al-Assad's regime: the cold-blooded murder of entire families on the grounds that they are reportedly considered to be pro-opposition; summary executions, notably of women and children; people burned alive in their homes; the continued systematic targeting of hospitals, their staff and their patients…

Such atrocities are an affront to the human conscience. There is, more than ever, an urgent need to put an end to the hostilities in Aleppo. The regime's supporters, starting with Russia, cannot let this happen and accept a strategy based on revenge and systematic terror without running the risk of becoming accomplices to the crimes.

Full light must be shed on the suffering inflicted on the civilian populations of Aleppo. I call on the UN to immediately use all mechanisms available to establish the truth about what is happening in Aleppo and on the international community to ensure that these crimes do not go unpunished.



European Union – Harlem Désir's participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels - December 13, 2016)

Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, is taking part in the General Affairs Council meeting on December 13 in Brussels.

The ministers will examine the council's draft conclusions on expansion. They will prepare for the European Council on December 15, which marks an important stage in the implementation of the road map on the revitalization of Europe adopted in Bratislava, and which should make it possible to strengthen the European security and defense policy, in accordance with the priorities set out by France.

The ministers will adopt the first interagency statement on the work program for 2017, which will set out the major priorities for the forthcoming year: growth, security and youth in particular.



Bolivia – Meeting between Matthias Fekl and the Bolivian minister of planning and development (Paris - December 13, 2016)

Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism, and French Nationals Abroad, is meeting with René Orellana, Bolivian Minister of Planning and Development, on December 13.

During this meeting, Mathias Fekl will express France's solidarity in the face of the unprecedented drought that has been affecting certain departments of Bolivia and the city of La Paz for several months.

He will take stock of French-Bolivian trade relations, which are especially vibrant in the energy, aerospace and urban transport sectors.



Azerbaijan – Eighth session of the French-Azerbaijani Intergovernmental Commission (Paris - December 13, 2016)

On December 13, Matthias Fekl, minister of state responsible for foreign trade, the promotion of tourism, and French nationals abroad, is opening the eighth session of the French-Azerbaijani Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation with Azerbaijan's finance minister, Samir Sharifov.

The two ministers will review bilateral economic relations as well as prospects for expanding exchanges in the areas of energy, the environment, transportation, and tourism.



Yemen – Attack in Aden (December 10, 2016)

France condemns the attack by Daesh on an army training camp in Aden that killed 48. It offers its condolences to the victims' families.

We reiterate our support for Yemen in its fight against terrorism.

This attack demonstrates yet again the gravity of the threat facing Yemen.

Now more than ever, this threat calls for a unanimous response by Yemeni political forces who must back an inclusive political solution with support from the international community and the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.



Press Freedom – Reporters Sans Frontières report (December 13, 2016)

We were concerned to learn of the conclusions of the latest Reporters Sans Frontières report. In 2016, according to the organization, 358 journalists were imprisoned worldwide because of their profession, an increase from the previous year. 52 journalists were held hostage.

France, which was hit hard by the attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, is committed to upholding the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists. By exercising their profession, they are also defending our freedom.

France is working actively within the UN to defend this fundamental liberty and to combat impunity for those who flout it. It calls for the full implementation of resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts, adopted by the Security Council on May 27, 2015.



Miscellaneous

Germany and Estonia have publicly indicated over the last few days that they have seen an increase in propaganda and Russian disinformation aimed at destabilizing their civil societies and internal political life. Has France made the same observation?

France is, on an ongoing basis, attentive to anything that could compromise the integrity of its democratic debate and to any interference.

We stand ready to continue cooperating with our European partners on these issues.


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