The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 18, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Bulgaria – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Sofia - January 19-20, 2018)

◢  Security – 12th meeting on the security of French businesses abroad (Paris - January 18, 2018)

◢  Kazakhstan – Bus accident (January 18, 2018)

◢  Syria

◢  Russia

Bulgaria – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Sofia - January 19-20, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau will visit Sofia on January 19 and 20 as Bulgaria assumes, for the first time, the presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2018.

The minister for European affairs will notably meet with Ekatarina Zakarieva, Deputy Prime Minister for Justice Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Nathalie Loiseau will discuss the importance of promoting a Europe that protects. She will present our approach to public consultations, aimed at helping to better identify the expectations of European citizens with respect to the EU. She will also take part, together with Lilyana Pavlova, in a conference entitled "What ambitions for Europe?" at the Institut Français in Sofia.

This visit will provide an opportunity to exchange views with the Bulgarian authorities on the priorities of their presidency and on the refounding of the European Union. The Bulgarian presidency's agenda will notably focus on the launch of discussions on the next multiannual financial framework and the continuation of work on priority issues: management of migration flows and redefinition of the European asylum system; consolidation of the euro zone; strengthening of European defense; and development of EU relations with the Western Balkans.

Security – 12th meeting on the security of French businesses abroad (Paris - January 18, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, opened the 12th edition of the annual meeting on the security of French businesses abroad this morning. On this occasion, he commended the commitment of professional associations and business clubs to the security of French citizens visiting or living abroad.

The Quai d'Orsay's crisis and support center brings together every year more than 300 high-level officials from the private sector, civil society and the government to discuss security issues that can affect economic and business activities abroad. The goal is to collectively contribute to spreading a culture of protection that will allow French firms to operate abroad in the safest possible conditions.

This year, the work focused on three main areas: security challenges for 2018; the impact of the strategic environment on the business climate in East Asia; cooperation between the government and businesses in emergency situations. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne pointed out that "security is a chain which is only as strong as its weakest link" and underscored the following points in particular:

  • the need for anticipation, training and action in the face of increasingly complex risks;
  • the new challenges posed by information systems and their uses, which create new vulnerabilities in terms of security and economic intelligence;
  • the usefulness of support, notably from the major groups, for their partners and service providers;
  • the need for mutually supportive cooperation between private and public stakeholders.

Kazakhstan – Bus accident (January 18, 2018)

We were saddened to learn of the bus accident in western Kazakhstan on January 18 that left more than 50 dead, including many Uzbek citizens.

France offers its condolences to the victims' families.

We assure Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan of our solidarity at this painful time.


Did Moscow decide to invite the United States and other permanent members of the UN Security Council as observers to the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi on January 29-30? Has France already received an invitation? Are you thinking of attending?

France is committed to the dialogue with Russia in order to move forward with a political transition in Syria. We have not received an invitation to the meeting to which you refer.

The inter-Syrian negotiations conducted under the auspices of the UN are the only legitimate framework for achieving a negotiated peaceful transition in Syria consistent with the terms of UN Security Council resolution 2254. All initiatives on Syria's future must be part of this framework. We hope that the Russian efforts contribute to the international consensus that is needed to reach a solution for Syria.

France reiterates its support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. It will continue to work with its partners to contribute to the success of his mediation effort.


The offices of the NGO Memorial, in Ingushetia, were burned down yesterday. Are you concerned about the situation of this NGO in the Russian republics of the North Caucasus?

France condemns the fire at the offices of the human rights organization Memorial on January 17 in Nazran, Ingushetia; there are several indications that it was caused by criminal acts.

This occurred a few days after the arrest and jailing of Oyub Titiev, head of the NGO, in Chechnya.

We express our concern over the pressure and intimidation faced by civil society in Russia, especially in the North Caucasus. We call on the Russian authorities to implement the necessary measures, in keeping with their international commitments, to guarantee the security and integrity of human rights advocates.

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United States
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