The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - July 24, 2017
In this issue:

◢  European Union / European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Catherine Trautmann (Paris - July 24, 2017)

◢  Situation in Jerusalem

◢  Central African Republic – Attack against a peacekeeping convoy (July 23, 2017)

◢  Health – 9th Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) (Paris - July 23-26, 2017)

◢  Libya

◢  Situation in the Gulf

◢  Turkey

◢  Congo

 
European Union / European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and Catherine Trautmann (Paris - July 24, 2017)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, met today with Catherine Trautmann, Former Minister of Culture and MEP, President of the Strasbourg The Seat Task Force aimed at promoting Strasbourg as the seat of the European Parliament.

A few days after Nathalie Loiseau's visit to Strasbourg on July 5, during which she defended the seat of Strasbourg, this meeting provided an opportunity to take stock of the task force's activities. The task force brings together locally elected officials, national and European parliamentarians from the Grand Est region as well as the prefectures of Grand Est and Bas-Rhin in order to promote the seat of Strasbourg. The discussions also focused on the actions by the government and local stakeholders to ensure that Strasbourg can play its full role as a European capital and to strengthen its accessibility.

Strasbourg is a symbol of our continent's reconciliation. That's why seat of the European Parliament as well of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights were established there. The choice of Strasbourg as the seat of the European Parliament, which is enshrined in the treaties, also reflects the determination of the founding fathers to build a polycentric Europe.



Situation in Jerusalem

France deplores the recent violence in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories which have left 10 people dead in attacks and clashes. It expresses its deep concern and its determination to help—together with its partners—ease tensions.

It is in this spirit that Jean-Yves Le Drian met on July 23 with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi. The consultations will notably continue this evening at the UN Security Council during an emergency meeting.

France reaffirms the need to refrain from any act or statement that could aggravate the conflict and calls on all parties to exercise restraint and to take concrete steps toward restoring calm.

It reaffirms that calling the status quo into question in any way poses a serious risk of destabilizing the situation and would like an agreed solution to be found that would ensure security without affecting free access to the holy sites.

Do you think that the status quo at the Esplanade of the Mosques is under threat? What are you expecting from the Security Council meeting this evening?

Please refer to the statement I made today on this issue.



Central African Republic – Attack against a peacekeeping convoy (July 23, 2017)

France condemns the attack carried out on July 23 in Bangassou against a peacekeeping convoy, which killed a Moroccan soldier and injured three others. The perpetrators of this attack must be brought to justice.

We extend our condolences to the victim's family and to the Moroccan authorities.

France reaffirms its full support for the efforts of MINUSCA and its contingents to stabilize the Central African Republic and protect civilians. We support Morocco, which has been hard hit, in its involvement in the peacekeeping operations.

This attack reaffirms the need to make swift progress toward effectively disarming the armed groups. France supports the efforts of the authorities of the Central African Republic, the African Union and the regional countries and organizations within the framework of the joint road map for peace and reconciliation in CAR, adopted on July 17 in Libreville.



Health – 9th Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) (Paris - July 23-26, 2017)

France is hosting the 9th Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris from July 23-26. The conference is being co-hosted this year by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS). More than 6,000 participants are expected to attend this important event aimed at sharing knowledge about the pandemic. Professor Jean-Fran├žois Delfraissy, former Director of ANRS and Chairperson of the French National Consultative Ethics Committee, and Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, President of the International AIDS Society, will be the co-chairs. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has co-funded a scholarship program enabling young researchers from countries in the South to take part in this conference.

This is the third time France is hosting this conference (previous times were in 1986 and 2003). France is indeed a historic actor in the fight against HIV/AIDS, one of our global health priorities.

Indeed, our country is the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The cumulative total of our contribution since the fund's inception is $4.8 billion.

France also established UNITAID and is its largest donor. UNITAID accelerates the availability of innovative solutions for treatment, diagnostics, and prevention.

We also provide support for UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS).

France currently allocates more than €500 million annually to fight transmissible diseases.

Along with our political efforts and our contributions to research, French financial investment in fighting pandemics has led to considerable progress: more than 10 million HIV-positive people are now being treated in developing countries thanks to Global Fund programs, and AIDS-related mortality has fallen 45%. Thanks to UNITAID, the cost of medicines for HIV is 100 times less than it used to be. This commitment is justified, given the challenges that remain: each year, 2.1 million people are infected by HIV, and another 1.1 million die. Even in 2017, half of HIV-positive patients still don't have access to anti-retroviral medications (ARVs). This access is particularly limited in some areas, such as Central and West Africa, where more than 75% of HIV-positive patients cannot obtain ARVs.



Libya

What are you expecting from tomorrow's meeting between Fayez al-Sarraj and Khalifa Haftar? Aside from the Egyptian foreign minister, will other representatives of the countries involved in the Libyan situation be attending the meeting?

As the President's office noted this morning, only the President of the Libyan Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, and the commander of the Libyan national army, General Khalifa Hafter, will meet at La Celle Saint-Cloud, in the presence of the UN secretary general's special representative for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, at the invitation of the Head of State.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will also attend this meeting.



Situation in the Gulf

In his televised speech on July 21, the Emir of Qatar proposed a dialogue with other Gulf States involved in the current crisis. Is France encouraging these efforts?

France encourages all efforts to facilitate the swift resolution of the dispute between Qatar and several of its partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt. That's why Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates on July 15 and 16.

France supports the mediation efforts of the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. It welcomes the call from the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on July 21, to begin a dialogue, and believes this is a promising development. It notes with interest the remarks made on July 18 in New York by representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.



Turkey

With the trial of several journalists from Cumhuriyet beginning today in Turkey, do you have any comment?

As we have said repeatedly in recent weeks, France is very concerned by the situation of human rights and fundamental liberties in Turkey, particularly the freedom of the press.

We expect Turkey to abide by all its international commitments, particularly those to the European Union and the Council of Europe, and for the authorities to guarantee the conditions for a democratic debate.

We are closely following the situation of the Cumhuriyet journalists, in conjunction with our embassy in Turkey and our European partners.



Congo

What is your reaction to the victory of Denis Sassou Nguesso's party in the legislative elections of July 16? Do you deplore the fact that elections couldn't be held in the Pool region?

The election process is not over; the second round is scheduled for July 30.

France remains concerned by the situation in the Pool region and its humanitarian consequences. It calls on the Congolese authorities to take the necessary measures to rapidly restore conditions allowing for elections to be held in the concerned districts.


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