The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 22, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Élysée Treaty – 55th anniversary (January 22, 2018)

◢  Liberia – Inauguration of President George Weah (January 22, 2018)

◢  Afghanistan – Terrorist attack (January 22, 2018)

◢  Democratic Republic of Congo – Situation (January 22, 2018

◢  Turkey

◢  Democratic Republic of Congo

◢  Iran

◢  Syria

◢  Syria – Chemical weapons

Élysée Treaty – 55th anniversary (January 22, 2018)

On January 22, 1963, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer signed a cooperation treaty aimed at achieving reconciliation between France and the Federal Republic of Germany. The Élysée Treaty set the goal of increased cooperation between Germany and France in the areas of international relations, defense and education.

President Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on January 19 in Paris to draft a new Élysée Treaty during the course of the year. Their joint declaration can be found here:

With this in mind, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian is working in close collaboration with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on all major foreign policy issues and the strengthening of bilateral cooperation.

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will mark the 55th anniversary of the signing of this treaty by meeting with a group of young people brought together by the "young ambassadors" of the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ) to discuss their proposals on revising the Élysée Treaty.

On September 26 at the Sorbonne, President Macron announced his desire to revise the Élysée Treaty in order to strengthen cooperation between our two countries. The presidents of the National Assembly and the Bundestag decided to adopt on January 22 at the National Assembly and the Bundestag, under the same terms, a joint resolution calling for a new Élysée Treaty. The resolution is expected to be approved in Berlin by late morning.

In the afternoon (5:00 pm), Nathalie Loiseau will represent the government at the National Assembly session during which a vote will be taken on this draft resolution in the presence of Wolfgang Schäuble, President of the Bundestag, and a delegation of German members of the Bundestag.

Liberia – Inauguration of President George Weah (January 22, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is representing France at the inauguration George Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, today in Monrovia.

The democratic changeover that has just taken place in Liberia responds to the deep aspirations of the Liberian people and is a historic moment. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to the efforts of outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to promote peace and national reconciliation in her country.

The minister of state will meet with President Weah in order to take stock of bilateral relations and establish new areas of cooperation.

Afghanistan – Terrorist attack (January 22, 2018)

France condemns the attack against the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and extends his condolences to the victims' families and friends.

France is committed to the fight against terrorism and will continue to lend its support to Afghanistan in order to combat this scourge.

France, which maintained a military presence in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, contributes 10.3% of NATO military expenditure and in this respect now supports the Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions launched in 2015. We also provide bilateral assistance to meet the critical needs of the Afghan security forces: military officer training programs, cooperation with the Afghan Interior Ministry, support for the Afghanistan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) notably tasked with counter-insurgency operations.

Democratic Republic of Congo – Situation (January 22, 2018

France strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by the security forces during the demonstrations on January 21, 2018, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and deplores the loss of life. It reiterates its call for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, beginning with the right to demonstrate. It calls on all stakeholders to engage in dialogue and to reject any use of violence. It reaffirms the need for the proportionate use of force in maintaining law and order.

France is also concerned about the violence and threats against MONUSCO observers. We call on the Congolese authorities to shed full light on this violence so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

France renews its appeal for the effective holding of elections in accordance with the electoral calendar published on November 5, 2017, the Constitution and the spirit of consensus that prevailed when the political agreement was signed on December 31, 2016, as requested by the UN Security Council in its resolution 2348 (2017). It reaffirms the need to fully implement the agreement of December 31, 2016, notably with respect to the measures to defuse the political situation, needed in order to ensure the conditions for credible and peaceful elections. France stands ready, in close coordination with its African, European and international partners, to support the electoral process aimed at achieving a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Turkish diplomacy chief Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, with respect to the Kurdish problem, that France is on the side of the terrorists. What is France's response to those words by the Turkish minister?

That is not what was said by Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, with whom Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke yesterday to review the overall situation in Syria.

I refer you to the communiqué we issued yesterday following that conversation. He mentions in particular that France is mindful of Turkey's security, territory and borders.

Democratic Republic of Congo

What's your response to the latest violent dispersion of protesters opposed to President Joseph Kabila remaining in power in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

I refer you to today's statement.


Concretely, in your dialogue with Iran, what are your demands on ballistic missiles and regional issues?

Iran's ballistic missile program is a major source of concern because it is inconsistent with Security Council resolution 2231 and destabilizing for the region.

As Jean-Yves Le Drian noted in his interview with Le Figaro, we have initiated a dialogue with Iran on the ballistic program and regional issues. That is why he will visit Tehran on March 5.


How is France's strategy of creating a "stabilized, neutral environment" in Syria different from what is being advocated in UN resolutions?

The establishment of a neutral environment in Syria is a goal that is central to the Geneva Communiqué and to UN Security Council resolution 2254.

A stabilized, neutral environment is the end result of the concrete measures and constraints that will be imposed on all actors, and especially on the Damascus regime, in order to bring about true constitutional reform and the holding of free elections, to ensure that a negotiated political settlement does indeed correspond to the aspirations of all components of Syrian society.

As Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Figaro today, that means "lifting sieges, ending hostilities, exchanging prisoners, and chemical disarmament. All under international supervision."

Syria – Chemical weapons

For several months now, NGOs and civil society groups in Syria have been accusing the Syrian government of having carried out chlorine gas attacks the latest one on January 12. Do the French authorities have any confirmation of further attacks in Syria since Khan Sheikhoun?

We are concerned by any information pointing to the possibility of new chemical attacks in Syria and we are closely studying the reports we receive.

We are also awaiting experts from the operational international investigative mechanisms, first and foremost the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

France is committed to preserving the chemical non-proliferation regime. That is why Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will launch a new partnership on January 23 against impunity for the use of chemical weapons.

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