The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - May 25, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Georgia - Azerbaijan - Armenia – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (26-28 May, 2018)

◢  Romania – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and her Romanian counterpart, Victor Negrescu (Paris - May 25, 2018)

◢  Libya – Terrorist attack in Benghazi (May 25, 2018)

◢  European Union – Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - May 28, 2018)

Georgia - Azerbaijan - Armenia – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (26-28 May, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian will pay a visit to the South Caucasus from 26 to 28 May. He will visit the region's three countries in turn: Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

There will be two crucial dimensions to these visits: firstly, presence at the celebrations organized to mark the centenary of the declaration of the first republics in each country of the region; secondly, strengthening our relations with each country.

In Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan, the minister for Europe and foreign affairs will take part in the commemorations of the three republics' declarations of independence in 1918.

France's participation in the ceremonies marking the centenary of independence illustrates the long-standing nature of our bilateral relations, to which Jean-Yves Le Drian will give fresh impetus during the visit: He will have working meetings with his counterparts and be received by heads of state and government.

These meetings will allow us to strengthen our political dialogue by emphasizing the primacy of the rule of law, good governance and the observance of individual and collective freedoms. Mr. Le Drian will support our businesses' projects to step up our economic and commercial presence. Finally, he will promote educational cooperation projects drawing on our educational institutions, the teaching of French and university partnerships.

In Georgia, the minister will meet President Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili and Foreign Minister Janelidze. He will assure his interlocutors of France's support for the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will take part in the parade organized in Tbilisi's Freedom Square for the centenary of the first Republic. It will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the brotherhood-in-arms between French and Georgian soldiers, who are engaged side by side in peacekeeping operations, particularly in the Central African Republic.

The Minister will open an exhibition showing a selection of diplomatic archives kept by the Foreign Ministry on relations between the first Republic of Georgia and France, which hosted the government in exile from 1921 onwards.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will sign an academic cooperation agreement aimed at establishing a French-Georgian university in the form of a network of partnerships providing joint and delocalized training courses.

In Azerbaijan, the minister will have meetings with President Aliyev, First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, Foreign Minister Mammadyarov and Finance Minister Sharifov. Mr. Le Drian will review current international issues and discuss bilateral relations. At economic level, our cooperation will be strengthened by the signature of agreements between manufacturers from both countries and by the possible prospect of training tailored to market needs.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit the French-Azerbaijani University, opened in 2016 and rapidly developing. On its premises, built by the Azeri government, Jean-Yves Le Drian will open an exhibition of French archives devoted to the first Republic of Azerbaijan. The Minister will also have a discussion with students.

In Armenia, the minister will have a meeting with President Sarkissian, Prime Minister Pashinyan and Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan. He will be the first European minister to meet the new authorities.

With his interlocutors, Mr. Le Drian will look at the various aspects of our relations, including ways of boosting economic exchanges. The signature of an agreement to establish the French Development Agency in Armenia will be a step towards deepening our economic cooperation.

The Minister will visit the French University in Armenia, a flagship of our educational cooperation. He will meet students there, whose numbers are growing and who, from September 2018 onwards, will be able to enroll in a new applied mathematics and computer science course.

Romania – Meeting between Nathalie Loiseau and her Romanian counterpart, Victor Negrescu (Paris - May 25, 2018)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will receive Romania's Minister Delegate for European Affairs Victor Negrescu on May 25, 2018, in Paris.

The two ministers will take stock of the development of bilateral relations, the cultural dimension of which will be further enhanced during the upcoming 2019 France-Romania Season. They will discuss key current European issues, notably the rule of law situation and issues relating to justice and internal relations, as well as the future Multiannual Financial Framework. They will also discuss the outlook for the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2019.

Libya – Terrorist attack in Benghazi (May 25, 2018)

France utterly condemns the terrorist attack that took place last night in the center of Benghazi. It extends its condolences to the bereaved as well as to the Libyan authorities and people.

France stands resolutely alongside Libya in the face of this new ordeal. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the Libyan forces fighting against terrorism.

This cowardly attack also reaffirms the urgent need to reach a political solution in Libya that will involve the holding of elections and the unification of the armed forces under civilian control, the only way to ensure the long-term security of the Libyan people and the country's stability.

France calls on the international community to intensify its efforts in this direction in support of the Libyan people, under UN auspices and with the support of all of Libya's international partners, especially the countries in the region.

European Union – Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - May 28, 2018)

The Foreign Affairs Council will take place in Brussels on May 28. The discussions will focus on the following points:

  • Venezuela: The European ministers will send another message of firmness to the Venezuelan authorities while early voting in the presidential elections on May 20, in which much of the opposition was prevented from taking part, was marked by irregularities and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The Council will adopt conclusions to this effect, endorsing new restrictive measures against close associates of President Maduro;
  • Iran: A few weeks after President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the JCPOA, the Council will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the EU's unified view and position in support of maintaining this agreement and to signal our determination to do everything possible to preserve it, as long as the Iranians uphold their commitments in this area. The EU is determined to protect its interests and those of its businesses and investors in the face of the extraterritorial effect of US. Sanctions. This discussion will also provide an opportunity to reaffirm the need to address the ballistic missile and regional issues within the framework of a comprehensive approach to Iran;
  • DRC: The Council will address the situation in the DRC and reaffirm that the priority must be the smooth conduct of the elections in accordance with the electoral timetable as part of a free and transparent process;
  • Gaza: The discussions will focus on the situation in the Gaza Strip, following the excessive crackdown on the demonstrations on March 30, in a context in which this territory is sliding inexorably into a humanitarian crisis. In addition to the tensions created over the last few days by the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the ministers will discuss the need to create a political horizon for the peace process and to achieve a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution, including on the status of Jerusalem, principles which represent the EU's constant position.
  • Post-Cotonou: The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the draft mandate that will be entrusted to the Commission for the opening of negotiations with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries on the post-2020 renewal of the ACP-EU partnership agreement. These discussions will provide an opportunity for the ministers to reaffirm the goals the EU should strive for with respect to relations with the ACP countries and the need to ensure that these relations are developed within a renewed, modernized and forward-looking framework.

Conclusions will also be adopted on the strengthening of the civilian dimension of the Common Security and Defense Policy, EU security cooperation in and with Asia, the Court of Auditors' report concerning the election observation missions as well as the EU's position with respect to combatting the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

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