The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - July 10, 2018
In this issue:

◢  China – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Vice Premier Hu Chunhua (Paris - July 9, 2018)

◢  Ethiopia / Eritrea – Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship (July 9, 2018)

◢  Syria – Publication of the OPCW report on the use of chemical weapons in Douma (July 6, 2018)

◢  Romania

China – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Vice Premier Hu Chunhua (Paris - July 9, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, accompanied by Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food, met on July 9 with Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, notably responsible for trade and agriculture issues.

Following on from the visits to China by President Macron in January and then by the prime minister in June, this meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the strengthening of our cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as in the civilian nuclear, aerospace and agri-food sectors. In this latter area, two French dairy sector establishments and two French beef exporters have just obtained approval to market their products in China.

This meeting also provided an opportunity for France and China to reaffirm their common commitment to a multilateral trading system.

Ethiopia / Eritrea – Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship (July 9, 2018)

By signing a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship on Monday in Asmara, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki have taken a historic step, putting an end to a 20-year dispute. France welcomes this and extends its warm congratulations to them.

This agreement is the result of the determination shown in June by Ethiopia, which had announced its acceptance of the 2000 Algiers Agreement, then by Eritrea which had decided to send a high-level delegation to Addis Ababa.

This important step forward provides an opportunity for France to pay tribute to the commitment of Ethiopia's prime minister to ensuring that the countries of the region benefit, like his, from a policy that primarily promotes reconciliation. It is a courageous choice. France lends its full support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's vision of the future for his country as well as the rest of the continent.

By responding positively to this commitment, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki contributed to this historic step. France commends his spirit of responsibility and does not doubt Eritrea's intention to open up to the world. France hopes that this will help ensure the development of Eritrea, to which its people aspire.

We encourage Ethiopia and Eritrea to actively cooperate in the areas set out in the joint declaration and affirm our readiness to support, together with all of our partners in the region, both countries' efforts to fully implement their new shared objectives.

Syria – Publication of the OPCW report on the use of chemical weapons in Douma (July 6, 2018)

On July 6, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published an interim report on the attack that killed several dozen people in Douma on April 7.

Experts from the fact-finding mission underscore that various chlorinated chemicals were identified in the analyses conducted by OPCW laboratories, whose final conclusions on this attack will be issued later.

The OPCW published 17 reports confirming the chemical nature of more than 30 attacks in Syria. The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and the OPCW determined that Syrian armed forces were responsible in at least four cases involving the use of chlorine and sarin.

France applauds the OPCW's independent work, conducted with professionalism and rigor.

The fight against the proliferation of chemical weapons is a priority for France, which on January 23 launched the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. So far 35 nations have joined it.


Does France have a comment on yesterday's announcement of the Romanian President's firing of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kövesi?

The chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, Laura Kövesi, whom Jean-Yves Le Drian had met during his visit to Bucharest on April 11, played a crucial role in the progress that Romania has made over the past 10 years with regard to the rule of law and the fight against corruption.

We attribute great importance to the irreversibility of those reforms.

A few months ahead of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council, France and its European partners will remain vigilant with regard to developments affecting the rule of law in Romania, especially within the framework of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.

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United States
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