The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - April 24, 2018
In this issue:

◢  United Nations – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in New York (April 24, 2018)

◢  Syria / Humanitarian assistance – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Brussels II conference (April 25, 2018)

◢  Yemen – Airstrikes in Hajjah (April 22, 2018)

◢  Belarus

◢  Bangladesh

 
United Nations – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne in New York (April 24, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will be in New York on April 24 to attend the UN General Assembly's high-level meeting on sustaining peace.

He will reaffirm France's commitment to peacebuilding and sustaining peace, which can be achieved only by respecting the freedom and dignity of nations and individuals.

On the sidelines of this event, Mr. Lemoyne will attend a meeting organized by France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the G5-Sahel states of the Sahel Alliance. This meeting will stress the need for international mobilization on behalf of the Sahel and the fact that in order to eliminate deep causes of instability, the security response must be accompanied by a long-term effort focused on development and local governance.



Syria / Humanitarian assistance – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Brussels II conference (April 25, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the Brussels II conference on the future of Syria and the region.

This conference will be chaired by the EU and the UN and follows on from the conferences in London (February 4, 2016) and Brussels (April 5, 2017). It will reaffirm the international community's support for a political solution to the Syrian conflict and will aim to strengthen the international response to the humanitarian consequences of the crisis and support for the refugees and host countries.

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains tragic. 13.1 million Syrians, including 6 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than half the Syrian population has been forced to leave their homes: 6.1 million have been internally displaced and 5.6 million are refugees in neighboring countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt). The delivery of humanitarian assistance continues to be subject to unacceptable blockades, notably on the part of the regime.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is a priority for France. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will reaffirm France's support for the Syrian people and Syria's neighboring countries. He will reaffirm our commitment to providing €200 million in grants to Syria and its neighboring countries for the period 2016-2018. The aim is to support the host countries, help the Syrian population and establish conditions in Syria conducive to the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the refugees. This commitment is supplemented by the €50 million emergency response program for Syria announced on April 16 by President Macron. Lastly, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will announce the French contribution for the three-year period 2019-2021.

Moreover, Brussels II is the third ministerial conference in support of the Lebanese state and its institutions announced for 2018 by President Macron during the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon on December 8, 2017. It follows on from the Rome II conferences on the security aspects and the CEDRE conference in Paris on the economic aspects. During the first conference, France opened a €400 million line of credit for the purchase of French military equipment. During the second conference it pledged to provide €550 million in grants and concessional loans. Thanks to the CEDRE conference, Lebanon will benefit from a leverage effect amounting in total to 11 billion in grants and loans, which will enable it to upgrade its infrastructure and bolster its economic resilience.



Yemen – Airstrikes in Hajjah (April 22, 2018)

France deplores the heavy toll of the airstrikes on April 22 in Hajjah province, northwest of Sanaa, which left at least 30 dead and many injured.

It calls on all the parties to abide by international humanitarian law, which prohibits military actions against civilians and civilian infrastructures and requires warring parties to take all necessary precautions in this regard in conducting their operations. It is also incumbent upon the parties to guarantee secure, full, and unhindered access to populations in need.

Only a political solution will be able to stop the ongoing deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen. In this regard, we reiterate our support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths.



Belarus

Today marks three months since access to Belarus's most widely read news site, Charter97.org, has been blocked in that country. RSF and other human rights organizations are denouncing this stunning act of censorship. What is France's response?

We regret the Belarusian authorities' decision to block access to the Charter97.org news site, the country's leading independent website, in late January.

France is committed to the freedom of the press and freedom of opinion worldwide, notably on the Internet.

Such restrictions of fundamental liberties will not help bring Belarus closer to the Council of Europe and the European Union.



Bangladesh

Five years after the death of 1,138 textile workers in the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, several associations (Sherpa, Action Aid France), which are challenging the Auchan group, mention the Quai d'Orsay's "blocking" of the international letters rogatory sent by a French judge. What is the status of the request for a commission of inquiry?

To help uncover the truth of that horrific tragedy, French authorities are actively cooperating with legal authorities and are notably moving ahead with the transmission of information requested by the investigating judge.


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