The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - July 10, 2017
In this issue:

◢  Syria – Resumption of Geneva negotiations (July 10, 2017)

◢  Iraq

◢  Israel - Palestinian Territories – Jerusalem - Settlements (July 7, 2017)

◢  Egypt – Terrorist attacks in the Sinai (July 7, 2017)

 
Syria – Resumption of Geneva negotiations (July 10, 2017)

France welcomes the resumption of negotiations between the opposition and the Syrian regime under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva. We reiterate our full support for the mediation effort led by the UN secretary general's special envoy Staffan de Mistura.

France calls on the Syrian parties, starting with the regime, to engage in these talks with good faith, so that this new session may bring about progress on a political transition negotiated within the framework of Geneva and Security Council resolution 2254. Only a political solution will make it possible to defeat terrorism in Syria in the long term, to restore peace, and to facilitate the return of refugees. The four principal subjects—governance, a constitution, elections, and counterterrorism—identified at previous sessions must be part of a clearly established agenda.

France will continue to support the delegation of the High Negotiations Committee in these talks, as the President reiterated during his telephone conversation with its head, Riyad Hijab, on July 6.

These negotiations must also give all parties the opportunity to make concrete commitments to protecting civilians and allowing the safe, complete, immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to all populations in need throughout the country. The cessation of hostilities, as well as a definitive halt to the use of chemical weapons and the complete dismantlement of stockpiles, are also crucial priorities for easing the suffering of the people and allowing the dialogue to move forward in Geneva. In this regard, the de-escalation agreement reached in the regions of Deraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda is a positive step that must usher in a true cessation of violence and the arrival of humanitarian aid. This approach must be extended throughout Syrian territory, particularly in line with the Astana Process.

France is committed to resolving this conflict and helping the Syrian people. Given the humanitarian challenge, we allocated 243 million euros for the period of 2011-2016, much of it to support Syria's neighbors. For 2017, nearly 75 million euros, 60 million of it for neighboring countries, will be contributed in keeping with the commitments we made at the London Conference on the international response to the consequences of the Syrian crisis (February 4, 2016) and the Brussels conference on the future of Syria and the region (April 5, 2017).



Iraq

After the fall of Mosul, what in your view are the priorities to be implemented? Do you think the Abadi government has enough latitude and influence to impose an "inclusive" political solution in Iraq?

The liberation of Mosul represents a major victory over Daesh. Nevertheless, portions of Iraqi territory still remain under the terrorist organization's control, particularly in Tal Afar, Hawija, and Anbar province. France will continue offering its full support to Iraq in its effort to definitively defeat the terrorist organization, while abiding by international humanitarian law and particularly the protection of civilians.

The French Presidency, which on July 9 hailed the courage of Iraqi forces supported by the international coalition against Daesh, expressed the hope that this victory would open a new page in Iraq's history and enable it to regain peace, stability and unity.

That will require responding to urgent humanitarian, economic, and political situations. We will continue to provide our full support to Iraq and to Mr. Al-Abadi's government to help it meet the challenges it is facing, in line with the Paris conference of October 20 on the stabilization of Mosul.



Israel - Palestinian Territories – Jerusalem - Settlements (July 7, 2017)

France calls on the Israeli authorities to reconsider the recently granted approval of construction plans for more than than 1,500 housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem. It is also very concerned by information reporting additional plans that could be approved in the coming days. These decisions represent a grave threat to the two-state solution.

As the President said on July 5, settlements—illegal under international law—have, since the beginning of the year, reached "an unprecedented level, and these decisions send a very negative signal that can only undermine the necessary trust."



Egypt – Terrorist attacks in the Sinai (July 7, 2017)

France condemns the terrorist attacks that took the lives of a number of Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai on July 7

We offer our condolences to the victims' families and loved ones and express our solidarity with the Egyptian people and authorities at this difficult time.

France stands with Egypt in the fight against terrorism. Our two countries work together closely on this threat.


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