The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - March 22, 2018
In this issue:

◢  4th French National Humanitarian Conference (Paris - March 22, 2018)

◢  Ukraine – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (March 22-23, 2018)

◢  Egypt

◢  Iran

◢  Arms

4th French National Humanitarian Conference (Paris - March 22, 2018)

This morning, Jean-Yves Le Drian opened the fourth edition of the French National Humanitarian Conference.

The French National Humanitarian Conference brings together representatives of the main international and non-governmental organizations that partner with France in its humanitarian efforts, and therefore offers a chance for all of these very diverse humanitarian actors to meet and hold discussions.

Discussions are held on the main aspects of the new humanitarian strategy (funding, international humanitarian law, coordination between humanitarian and development work, local actors).

Mr. Le Drian presented France's new humanitarian strategy for the period 2018-2022, which marks a change in the scale of our country's humanitarian action and gives it a clear goal, backed by expanded means. Resources for humanitarian action will have more than tripled, surpassing €500 million a year by 2022. This unprecedented funding increase will be accompanied by reforms aimed at improving the effectiveness of our aid through streamlining and transparency.

Mr. Le Drian also stressed the importance of coordinating between development assistance, overseen by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and development efforts conducted by the French Development Agency. Common response strategies will be established, including a joint analysis of needs and coordinating calls for proposals. The minister also announced the establishment of a capacity-building mechanism for local actors.

He also reiterated the fundamental importance of humanitarian law in France's foreign policy and stressed our initiatives to step up protection of humanitarian personnel and curtail the UN Security Council's right to use the veto in cases of mass atrocities.

He concluded his speech with a visit to stands run by the various NGOs in the "humanitarian village."

The conference will be closed by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Ukraine – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (March 22-23, 2018)

After hosting his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, on February 5, Jean-Yves Le Drian is visiting Ukraine on March 22 and 23.

The objective of this first visit to Ukraine by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs will be to reiterate France's commitment to resolving the conflict in that country and the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, particularly in the Normandy format, in which France is an active participant.

It will also be an opportunity to show our support, alongside the EU and the G7, for the reform process in Ukraine and to strengthen cooperation between our two countries.

Mr. Le Drian will have a number of meetings with Ukrainian officials. With President Petro Poroshenko, notably, he will discuss the EU's expectations with respect to reforms and the fight against corruption, particularly regarding the establishment of a specialized anticorruption court. Conversations with the Prime Minister will provide an opportunity to review our economic and commercial exchanges and to reiterate the expectations of French businesses with regard to reforms in order to establish a favorable climate for investment. France is currently the leading foreign employer in Ukraine, with more than 160 companies there. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs will also meet with the Chairman of the Parliament, Andriy Parubiy, and the chairperson of the Foreign Policy Committee, Anna Hopko, to discuss the status of the reforms and reiterate France's commitment to resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Together with his counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, Jean-Yves Le Drian will work on strengthening our bilateral relations in the areas relating to the economy and human exchanges, and will reaffirm the need for Ukraine to continue its reform efforts and efforts to combat corruption, in accordance with the EU and IMF conditionalities. The ministers will hold detailed discussions on the status of the negotiations on implementing the Minsk agreements as well as the security and humanitarian situation. During his visit, Jean-Yves Le Drian will bestow the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor upon Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan. He will also meet with the prisoners freed during the exchange on December 27 and with representatives of individuals who have disappeared, with whom he will discuss their detention conditions and the mechanisms that can be implemented in order to facilitate the identification of and search for those who are missing.

During his visit, Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit Maidan, a symbol of the hopes and expectations of the Ukrainian people, together with author Andrey Kourkov, who witnessed the 2014 events. He will also visit the Babi Yar memorial to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.

France remains fully committed to resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine and is attached to respect for Ukraineís sovereignty throughout its territory.


Do you believe that the Egyptian presidential campaign will strengthen democracy and the rule of law in the country?

The election campaign started on February 24 in preparation for the elections due to take place from March 26 to 28.

We are closely monitoring these important events.


The United States stated yesterday that it was preparing a contingency plan in the event of a breakdown in the negotiations with the Europeans on the Iranian nuclear issue. On the European side, have you also started to prepare for this possibility?

The Vienna agreement must be preserved. We are working with our European partners to that end. At this stage, the United States is implementing this agreement. We hope that it will confirm this position. It is up to the U.S. to decide.

For our part, we are attached to the full implementation of the agreement, which requires Iran to continue to comply with all of its commitments.

As Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council on March 19, "We are absolutely determined to ensure that the Vienna agreements are upheld, and we must take strong action in this respect. We must not however exclude Iranís responsibility in ballistic missile proliferation and its highly questionable role throughout the Middle East region."


Is France considering blocking the Russian weapons giant Rosoboronexport from attending the forthcoming arms fairs in France, including Eursatory in June?

France rigorously enforces the provisions relating to the restrictive measures on the trade in arms with Russia.

These measures do not prohibit Russian companies from taking part in European trade fairs but no equipment covered by the embargo may be exhibited at these trade fairs.

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