The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - January 17, 2018
In this issue:

◢  United Nations – Meeting between the minister and Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara (Paris - January 17, 2018)

◢  Kuwait – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - January 17, 2018)

◢  Turkey – Conviction of several journalists (January 16, 2018)

◢  Kosovo – Murder of Oliver Ivanovic (Mitrovica - January 16, 2018)

◢  Syria

◢  UN – Aid for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA)

 
United Nations – Meeting between the minister and Horst Köhler, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara (Paris - January 17, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian will receive Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, on January 17.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will reaffirm France's full support for the personal envoy of the UN secretary-general in carrying out his mission, as well as our attachment to MINURSO. They will take stock of Horst Köhler's contacts since his appointment in August 2017, as well as the next stages of his mission and the situation in Western Sahara.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will reaffirm France's attachment to full compliance with the ceasefire agreements. He will reaffirm France's support for a just, lasting and mutually agreed solution in Western Sahara, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions, and will reaffirm that the 2007 Moroccan autonomy plan is a serious and credible basis to that end.



Kuwait – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - January 17, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian will receive Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah on January 17.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will congratulate his interlocutor on Kuwait's election to the UN Security Council for a period of two years, beginning in January 17, 2018. The ministers will take stock of the main issues dealt with by the Security Council, the presidency of which Kuwait will assume in February.

The discussions will mainly focus on the regional and humanitarian crises, which are shared priorities for our two countries. Kuwait, a key player in regional dialogue, and the only Arab member of the Security Council, is a key partner of France. With respect to Syria as well as Yemen, the ministers will reaffirm the urgent need for a political solution to these crises and for safe, continuous and unrestricted humanitarian access to the populations in need. With respect to Iraq, Jean-Yves Le Drian will notably lend France's support to the Kuwaiti initiative for a conference on reconstruction due to take place from February 12 to 14. He will reaffirm our support for Kuwait's efforts to ease tensions within the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG). Jean-Yves Le Drian will confirm his next visit to Kuwait.

The ministers will also examine the bilateral efforts needed to strengthen our cooperation in the areas of French language and culture, the economy, academic exchanges and health.



Turkey – Conviction of several journalists (January 16, 2018)

France expresses its concern over yesterday's conviction of five journalists in Istanbul who had taken part in a campaign of solidarity for the daily newspaper Özgür Gündem among them, Libération's former Turkey correspondent Ragip Duran.

France calls on Turkey to abide by its commitments in the areas of human rights and fundamental liberties. Following his meeting with his Turkish counterpart on January 5, President Macron had publicly mentioned "the case of several heads of NGOs and journalists in particular" and reiterated that "our democracies must fully respect the rule of law."



Kosovo – Murder of Oliver Ivanovic (Mitrovica - January 16, 2018)

France condemns the murder of Oliver Ivanovic on January 6 in Mitrovica.

We ask the Kosovo authorities to fully investigate this crime and to bring those responsible to justice.

France regrets the suspension of the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and calls on the parties to resume it without delay.



Syria

According to the pan-Arab daily Asharq-Al-Awsat, a meeting on Syria will be held next Tuesday in Paris. Can you confirm this? Which countries will be represented and at what level? According to certain Arab media outlets, a meeting on Syria was held in Washington last Friday and France was represented. Can you confirm that?

We have regular discussions with our partners on Syria.

France reaffirms that only a negotiated political settlement consistent with UN Security Council resolution 2254 will be able to end the conflict and bring lasting peace.



UN – Aid for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA)

The Americans announced they were freezing their contribution to UNWRA. Do you think this is a good thing?

France regrets the U.S. decision to freeze part of its contribution to the UN program that assists Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). It hopes that in the end, these funds will be disbursed. This decision is likely to exacerbate the program's financial difficulties.

UNRWA, whose employees operate in often difficult conditions, plays a fundamental and necessary role in assisting more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.

France reiterates its support for UNRWA and encourages its partners to maintain their commitments so that it can continue carrying out its mission. We are in contact with the United States in this regard.

France is prepared to shoulder its share of the necessary efforts to revive a credible dynamic to facilitate the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



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United States
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