The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - May 11, 2018
In this issue:

◢  United Nations / Candidacy of Michel Wachenheim for the position of president of the ICAO Council – Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian

◢  International trade – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to Berlin (May 11, 2018)

◢  Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the International Conference on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East (Brussels - May 14, 2018)

◢  Environment – Adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution opening the way for the negotiation of a Global Pact for the Environment (May 10, 2018)

◢  Malaysia – Legislative elections (May 9, 2018)

 
United Nations / Candidacy of Michel Wachenheim for the position of president of the ICAO Council – Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian

The 44 member states of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) will meet in Paris on March 14 and 15 to appoint their common candidate for the position of president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, in preparation for the election slated to take place in November 2019 at the ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

France proposed Michel Wachenheim to its ECAC partners as Europe's common candidate for this aviation body.

The ICAO is a UN specialized agency which plays a key role in the areas of safety and security of air navigation, as well as in the fight against climate change. The president of the ICAO Council, thanks to the powers conferred on him, is essential to the fulfillment of the organization's mandate. It is crucial to appoint an experienced personality for this position; someone who is capable of forging a consensus among the member states and has an ambitious vision for the organization.

Former Permanant Representative of France to the ICAO, former Director-General for Civil Aviation, and President of the 27th session of the ICAO Assembly, Michel Wachenheim has all the qualities needed to perform these responsibilities. He can count on France's full support for his candidacy.



International trade – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to Berlin (May 11, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Berlin today to meet with Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, notably responsible for trade issues.

The minister of state and his counterpart will notably discuss the tensions in the area of trade policy in order to reaffirm, in follow-up to the visits to Washington by President Macron and the German chancellor, our attachment to relations based on the principles of free and fair trade and the search for collective solutions within the framework of the World Trade Organization. Together with their European partners, France and Germany support the continuation of dialogue in order to promote a positive agenda on international trade and commerce. With respect to the steel and aluminum tariffs in particular, France will continue to make the case that the EU should benefit from a total, permanent and unconditional exemption.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will also discuss with his counterpart ways to limit the impact on European firms of the use by the United States of sanctions that have an extraterritorial effect and actions that can be taken at the European level.

During his visit, the minister of state will meet with Joachim Lang, Director General of BDI (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e. V.) which brings together 37 business associations and has approximately 100,000 affiliated firms which directly employ 8 million people.



Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the International Conference on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East (Brussels - May 14, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part on May 14 in the International Follow-up Conference on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East, hosted by Belgium and co-chaired by Lebanon.

This conference follows on from the conference in Paris on September 8, 2015, and the conference in Madrid in 2017.

The minister of state will reaffirm France's constant commitment: Ethnic and religious diversity is an inherent part of the Middle East's identity. Its preservation is key to building a future of peace, freedom and prosperity in this region. In the post-Daesh period, it is essential to provide special protection to members of religious and ethnic minorities, and to implement the necessary measures to ensure the safe, lasting and dignified return of the displaced persons, as well as an inclusive political process that ensures respect for individual rights.

As part of the implementation of the Paris Action Plan at the national level, France established a fund to support projects by French NGOs on the ground that benefit threatened minority communities.

Managed by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs' crisis and support center, this fund has received €5 million annually since 2015 and is supplemented by funds paid into by local governments. Some €18 million have been allocated via this fund to finance concrete projects for the period of 2015-2017.

The fund received 5 million for 2018, and several projects are already being supported this year, with most carried out by NGOs in Iraq. Others are under study.

With the senatorial group of liaison, reflection, vigilance and solidarity with Christians and minorities in the Middle East, which has existed since 2015, and a similar group in the National Assembly, French parliamentary diplomacy also plays an important role in protecting these populations.



Environment – Adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution opening the way for the negotiation of a Global Pact for the Environment (May 10, 2018)

France welcomes the UN General Assembly's adoption, on May 10, of a resolution opening the way for the negotiation of a Global Pact for the Environment. Passed by a very large majority, this resolution marks a decisive step forward in the international community's mobilization to protect the environment.

The Global Pact for the Environment initiative, inspired by a group of international legal scholars and spearheaded by the president of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, was presented at the UN by President Macron in September 2017, with the support of the UN secretary-general and the United Nations Environment Program. The result of some six months of intense consultations, this result will allow this ambitious project supported by France to define the framework for in-depth, inclusive discussions to negotiate a Global Pact for the Environment with all UN member states, relevant international organizations, and civil society.

The planet is facing an unprecedented environmental crisis. France was motivated by the urgency of this situation to defend the importance of an international treaty to consolidate legal values and to codify the major principles of international environmental law, supplementing them on the basis of current challenges. Universal in its aims, this project will offer a common foundation that will not take the place of existing environmental agreements, but will supplement them and facilitate their implementation.

Adopted by a very large majority, the resolution was co-sponsored by some 100 countries, attesting to the strong support for this project. France thanks the countries who joined this initiative; it will continue to work with everyone in a spirit of unity. France hopes that work will continue in the multilateral framework of the UN and that under the auspices of facilitator countries, with the support of the United Nations Environment Program, it will be guided by a sense of responsibility that alone will make it possible to forge constructive solutions equal to the historic challenges we face.



Malaysia – Legislative elections (May 9, 2018)

France congratulates the Malaysian people on the smooth unfolding of the election on May 9 and welcomes the peaceful transfer of power, which represents a democratic success for the country.

France offers its congratulations to the Prime Minister elect, Mahathir bin Mohamad, and wishes him the utmost success in his new term.

France has had strong, close ties with Malaysia since it gained independence in 1957. Indeed, Malaysia is a special partner of France within ASEAN, as demonstrated by the vitality of our economic relations and our close cooperation on defense and security. France intends to pursue and further deepen its cooperation with the new government in all of these areas.


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