The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 6, 2018
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Frans Timmermans (Paris - March 6, 2018)

◢  Syria – Continued shelling in Eastern Ghouta and interruption of a humanitarian convoy

European Union – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Frans Timmermans (Paris - March 6, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, this morning.

The meeting focused on two main issues:

  • with respect to the rule of law in Poland, Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed France's support for the Commission's efforts with regard to Polish justice reforms, which are giving rise to legitimate concerns in terms of their conformity with the principles of judicial independence, the separation of powers and legal certainty. The recent resumption of the high-level dialogue between the Commission and the new Polish government is a positive sign. France and its partners expect this dialogue to yield swift results;
  • the European democratic process was discussed in follow up to the informal meeting of heads of state and government on February 23. The meeting provided an opportunity for Jean-Yves Le Drian to underscore the pan-European dimension of the citizen consultations proposed by President Macron; all member states have now pledged to participate in these consultations.

Syria – Continued shelling in Eastern Ghouta and interruption of a humanitarian convoy

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the regime's ongoing air and ground offensive in Eastern Ghouta, in full violation of Security Council resolution 2401. This continuing offensive is resulting in dozens of civilian casualties each day.

France notes that this resolution calls for the complete cessation of hostilities and the implementation of a humanitarian truce lasting at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syrian territory in order to securely deliver humanitarian aid without obstacles and to carry out the urgent medical evacuation of civilians in medical emergencies.

For the first time since February 14, a humanitarian convoy chartered by the United Nations was authorized yesterday to enter Eastern Ghouta in the direction of Douma. But once again, regime forces stripped this convoy of all the medicines and medical kits it was carrying. And given the continued shelling by the Syrian regime, the UN and its partners were forced to interrupt the unloading of the convoy and to urgently evacuate humanitarian personnel.

France condemns these violations of international humanitarian law. It applauds the dedication and courage of UN employees and their humanitarian partners, who are risking their lives so that the 400,000 inhabitants of besieged Ghouta may receive vital assistance.

France calls on allies of the Syrian regime, particularly Russia and Iran, to abide by their international obligations without delay and to force the Damascus regime, which operates with their support, to implement the humanitarian truce. Russia, which voted for resolution 2401, bears particular responsibility in this regard. As President Macron said yesterday, we expect it to take real, concrete measures to bring an immediate halt to indiscriminate shelling and sieges against civilians.

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