The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - June 12, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Central African Republic – Attack against MINUSCA (June 10, 2018)

◢  G7 – United States

◢  Syria

◢  Mali

 
Central African Republic – Attack against MINUSCA (June 10, 2018)

France utterly condemns the attack carried out against MINUSCA on June 10 in Ouaka prefecture, which killed one Burundian peacekeeper and seriously injured another.

We extend our condolences to the family of the Burundian soldier who was killed, as well as to the Burundian authorities; we wish the injured soldier a speedy recovery.

France reaffirms its full support for the work of MINUSCA, which is paying a heavy price for carrying out its mission. It reaffirms that attacks against peacekeepers may constitute war crimes and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

This violence underscores the urgent need to implement the joint road map for peace and reconciliation adopted on July 17, 2017, in Libreville aimed at ensuring the effective disarmament of the armed groups. France reaffirms its support for the efforts undertaken in this respect by the Central African Republic authorities, the African Union and the countries and organizations in the region; it encourages them to continue their efforts. This is the message that the minister for Europe and foreign affairs conveyed during his recent visit to Congo and Chad and during his meeting with the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa.



G7 – United States

What is your assessment of relations with the United States following the G7? In his capacity as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, does the minster have a plan of action for trying to repair these relations?

The G7 summit provided an opportunity to discuss all major international issues and to reaffirm our unity on several major issues, notably security.

Divergent views were also expressed, especially on trade issues, given the measures adopted by the United States affecting imports from Europe, Canada and Japan. The European Union already announced that it would take measures in response to the tariffs within the framework laid down by the WTO rules.

At the same time, we would like to have an in-depth dialogue with the United States in order to develop a joint assessment of the trans-Atlantic trade situation, based on comprehensive and shared facts, in order to eliminate any doubts or misunderstandings. The minister regularly discusses all these issues with his counterpart.

We would also like to promote international business cooperation in order to address the key overarching issues which include in particular combating the theft of intellectual property and addressing certain instances of overcapacity. President Macron therefore proposed hosting a joint conference with China, the United States, Japan and the European countries in order to address these major challenges and to increase the WTO's effectiveness.

These guidelines will be among the priorities of the French presidency of the G7 in 2019 which will follow the Canadian presidency.



Syria

Do you think that the Coordination Mechanism for talks between the "small group" and the Astana Process is already compromised in view of the Idlib offensive, which reportedly included Russian strikes?

France reiterates that there can be no military solution to the conflict. In this regard, it expresses its concern following air strikes against the towns of Zardana, Taftanaz and Binnish in Idlib province, which killed 61 people in recent days and left a pediatric hospital and the hospital in the town of Binnish inoperative, in violation of international humanitarian law.

We hope to strengthen the international consensus on conditions for ending the crisis in Syria. That is why President Macron and President Putin agreed on the establishment of a bilateral coordination mechanism to reconcile views expressed by the "small group" and the Astana Process. Our goal is "to work together to create convergences that will facilitate a political solution to the Syria crisis." We are continuing to hold consultations on this subject with Russia and all international actors that share this goal.



Mali

Since 2015, France has been expounding on the need to implement the Algiers agreements on Mali. How do you explain this lack of political will and why does the presidential election change the equation?

The presidential election in Mali represents an important step for Malian democracy. It will be an opportunity to assume responsibility for collective challenges, and particularly the implementation of the peace agreement. That is why credibility and transparency are key aspects of the election process.

France, like all of Mali's partners, including the UN secretary-general and the independent observer of the peace agreement in their respective reports, has noted delays and a lack of political will in the implementation of the peace agreement. It also noted progress in recent months, which must continue and be expanded upon. That means stepping up joint patrols in northern Mali, ensuring the effective functioning of local governments, and beginning the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.


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