The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - July 17, 2017
In this issue:

◢  Egypt / Attack in Hurghada (July 14, 2017) – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson

◢  Attack in Jerusalem (July 14, 2017) – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson

◢  Iran

◢  Egypt

◢  Syria

◢  Turkey

◢  Saudi Arabia

◢  Middle East peace process

◢  Libya

◢  Situation in the Gulf

Egypt / Attack in Hurghada (July 14, 2017) – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson

France utterly condemns the deadly attack carried out on July 14 against the beach resort of Hurghada in the eastern part of the country, which killed two German nationals.

We extend our condolences to the bereaved and wish the injured a speedy recovery. France commends the swift response by the Egyptian police forces, which made it possible to arrest the perpetrator of the attack.

France stands alongside the Egyptian and German authorities and reaffirms its determination to combat terrorism.

Attack in Jerusalem (July 14, 2017) – Reminder of the statement by the spokesperson

France condemns the attack involving automatic weapons carried out on Friday in the Old City of Jerusalem, which killed two Israeli police officers.

We extend our condolences to the victims' family and friends.

The use of violence in all its forms, is unacceptable and runs counter to the quest for peace. In a context of increasing tensions, notably in the occupied part of Jerusalem, France calls on all parties to refrain from any act or statement that could heighten these tensions.


President Macron discussed Iran with Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday. Can you explain what "initiate a rigorous dialogue with Israel with respect to monitoring the Iranian nuclear deal" means?

The Vienna agreement was concluded between the E3/EU+3 and Iran on July 14, 2015, and has been implemented since January 16, 2016.

This first year and a half of the implementation of the agreement has been generally satisfactory but may have resulted in a few difficulties identified in the IAEA reports; for example, Iran has exceeded the heavy water limits. These implementation problems have been resolved through discussions within the framework of the Joint Commission which brings together all parties to the agreement on a quarterly basis.

President Macron reaffirmed the importance of the Vienna agreement, which France does not want to reopen or renegotiate, but rather implement in a thorough and comprehensive manner, especially with respect to the nuclear component. This requires the utmost vigilance. This has been France's constant position since January 2016. We are also closely monitoring Iran's implementation of UNSCR 2231, which endorses the agreement and contains important provisions, notably regarding ballistic missiles, which Iran must fully respect.

The agreement and its full implementation are of great importance to the region, including Israel. It is therefore completely natural that we maintain close dialogue with this partner with respect to monitoring the agreement.


Are you satisfied with the reasons given by the Egyptian authorities regarding the closure of the IPSOS Institute?

We have taken note of the decision by the Egyptian authorities regarding the closure of the market research firm IPSOS in Egypt.

The company is of course in contact with the Egyptian authorities so that the reasons given result in corrective action.

The embassy has intervened with the Egyptian authorities to support the efforts undertaken by the company.


Can you provide details regarding the new contact group that France would like to see? Will Iran be a part of it? When will this group be established?

What more are you hoping to achieve than with all the previous contact groups on Syria and all the previous formats already tried over the last few years?

President Macron called for an international initiative to build lasting political stability in Syria.

The creation of a contact group could help reenergize the political process by providing support for UN mediation so that political negotiations can truly get underway.

It is especially important for the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the countries that exercise influence over Syria to be able to work together in a more effective manner in order to ensure that UNSCR 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué are finally implemented.


Mr. Erdogan vowed to "behead traitors." Are you concerned that Turkey is sliding into authoritarianism?

France emphasizes that respect for human rights and fundamental liberties—especially freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and the right to an effective remedy, all within a nation under the rule of law—is vital to the exercise of democracy. It is the crucial pillar of Turkey's European and international commitments.

France therefore remains concerned by the recent arrests of Turkish Amnesty International leaders and other human rights workers and journalists. We demand their immediate release.

Saudi Arabia

Last October, France announced contracts with Saudi Arabia worth €10 billion. How many of these contracts have been concluded?

As Jean-Yves Le Drian noted yesterday, on the occasion of his visit to the Gulf, France and Saudi Arabia "decided to restart French-Saudi cooperation in a more vigorous way." To that end, the joint commission that has existed since 2015 will meet this fall in Paris and will review our bilateral cooperation programs.

Defense, energy, infrastructure, as well as culture and education will "now be reviewed annually" by this commission, which will meet alternately in Paris and Saudi Arabia.

The minister also emphasized that "this restart desired by the President, who had spoken about the topic with King Salman, is perfectly consistent with Vision 2030, which offers new opportunities to create additional synergies between our two countries."

Since 2012, French companies have signed €27.5 billion worth of civil contracts in Saudi Arabia and €7 billion worth of arms deals.

Middle East peace process

Is France's Middle East peace initiative dead?

France's commitment to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unwavering. France's aim is to help the parties resume their dialogue and to support them in the re-establishment and conclusion of a political process.

In this regard, and as the President said yesterday, "France is ready to support all diplomatic efforts to this end, based on the parameters recognized by the international community."


Mr. al-Sarraj proposed holding elections in March 2018. Do you think that's realistic? What's the status of the diplomatic initiatives on Libya announced by the President?

President Macron talked about France's efforts to help stabilize Libya, in support of the mission by the UN secretary general's special representative Ghassan Salamé, who will take up his post in the near future. The goal is to reach an inclusive solution based on the inter-Libyan political agreement.

France therefore notes with interest the roadmap announced by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and hopes it will help achieve this goal.

Situation in the Gulf

Do you have assurances that the Qatar crisis will have no particular impact on our trade relations in the region?

On the occasion of his visit to the Gulf, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian noted that it is "preferable for the parties to engage in a de-escalation process, which is crucial for ensuring that negotiations take place in a constructive atmosphere."

The minister also emphasized that "France wants to be a facilitator, to provide support [...] for the mediation effort led by Kuwait."

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
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