The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - April 20, 2018
In this issue:

◢  United States – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will represent the French government at the celebrations to mark New Orleans' tricentennial (April 21-23, 2018)

◢  Nigeria

United States – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will represent the French government at the celebrations to mark New Orleans' tricentennial (April 21-23, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit New Orleans from April 21 to 23 to take part in the celebrations to mark the city's tricentennial.

His visit will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the very strong relations between France and New Orleans - historic relations that are strengthened by very close cultural and linguistic ties. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will meet with the local authorities, notably including Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, upon whom he will bestow the Legion of Honor in recognition of his commitment to French language and culture and the fight against climate change.

The minister of state will discuss the program being implemented by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year -, the Louisiana Department of Education and France in order to improve the quality of French education provided to 70,000 French-speaking pupils and students in Louisiana. The program notably includes the exchange of teachers who bring their French language skills to the Louisiana education system while perfecting their English language skills so that they can teach English in elementary schools when they return to France. The program is consistent with the goals of the plan to promote the French language and multilingualism which President Macron presented on March 20.

The minister of state will also be accompanied by 23 fourth grade students from the Ecole Bilingue, one of the three accredited schools in New Orleans, during his visit to the French patrol vessel, La Résolue, as part of NOLA Navy Week.

He will then hold meetings with the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana and French firms operating in the region. Trade between France and Louisiana amounts to $1.3 billion and the established presence of French firms in the region (notably including Air Liquide, Total, CMA-CGM, Veolia-Transdev, Schlumberger, Louis Dreyfus, Technip, and Sodexo) accounts for 7,500 jobs.


On Nigeria: It's been four years since the Chibok girls were kidnapped from their school. Some managed to escape and others were freed by Nigerian forces. How is France involved in gaining the release of those still being held?

Four years ago, 276 young schoolgirls were kidnapped in Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram. We have not forgotten these girls who were so brutally targeted while they were at school. Our thoughts go out to them and their families.

Since then, most of the girls have been freed or have managed to escape. But the fate of several dozen others remains unknown. We know through the accounts of freed hostages that some were forced to marry and others are dead. Those responsible for these actions must be brought to justice.

France, which in the aftermath of the Chibok abduction convened a meeting in Paris of heads of state from the countries neighboring Lake Chad to facilitate the coordination of their efforts, remains engaged alongside Nigeria and its neighbors in the fight against Boko Haram. We support the efforts that have been made to combat terrorism and find abductees, especially the Chibok girls. We will continue to provide our full support to Nigeria and the countries of the region in the fight against Boko Haram, notably through our backing of the Multinational Joint Task Force.

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