The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - July 23, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Libya – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (July 23, 2018)

◢  Health – International AIDS Conference (Amsterdam - July 23-27, 2018)

◢  Syria

Libya – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (July 23, 2018)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in Tripoli, Misurata, Tobruk, and Rajma on July 23. This visit follows the international conference on Libya hosted by the French President on May 29 and under the authority of the UN, represented by Ghassan Salamé, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Libya.

The day before, he was in Tunisia, where he discussed Libya with President Beji Caid Essebsi, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, and his counterpart, Khemaies Jhinaoui.

In connection with the implementation of the political declaration endorsed on May 29 in Paris, Mr. Le Drian will meet with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, President of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh Issa, President of the High Council of State Khaled Mechri, and the commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, about the commitments they agreed to on that occasion. These commitments include three key principles and two decisive deadlines for Libya's future: the adoption of a constitutional platform before September 16, the holding of legislative and presidential elections on December 10, and the unification of economic and security institutions under civilian authority.

Mr. Le Drian will also pay a visit to the city council and elected officials of Misurata, where he will reiterate France's attachment to an inclusive political solution in order to resume the democratic transition.

Migration issues will also be central to the discussion with Prime Minister Sarraj. In accordance with the roadmap on migration that came out of the Paris summit of August 28, 2017, and the Abidjan summit of November 29, 2017, and along with the efforts of the migration working group, Mr. Le Drian will reiterate France's commitments and urge the Libyan authorities to continue to abide by theirs.

Finally, Mr. Le Drian will announce the continuation of France's work to support Libya's stabilization, especially in the priority areas of mine clearance and health. He will advocate for increased support for Libya's High National Elections Commission, and will announce an increase in France's financial contribution for the organization of Libyan elections.

France reiterates its full support for Ghassan Salamé's action plan. It calls on all the parties to consistently engage in this dialogue.

Health – International AIDS Conference (Amsterdam - July 23-27, 2018)

The 22nd International AIDS Conference is being held in Amsterdam from July 23 to 27. More than 15,000 scientists, members of civil society and representatives of national governments around the world are attending this major biennial meeting to discuss the advances and major challenges remaining in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The conference must highlight the importance of maintaining a high level of prevention and of combating discrimination, which stands in the way of an effective fight. It will also stress the need to increase international funding.

France is represented by a large delegation led by Minister for Solidarity and Health Agnès Buzyn, and which also includes Ambassador for Global Health Stéphanie Seydoux. With the support of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Solidarity and Health, and several local governments and agencies, it has a booth enabling French actors to promote our country's expertise and major commitment. Representatives of the French research community - the second-largest internationally in terms of scientific research on HIV/AIDS - will present their work, which has made it possible each year to discover new molecules or new administration methods to make life easier for patients. Finally, many representatives of associations and French operators will present the results of community programs they are conducting involving patient assistance, prevention, and strengthening the capacity of local health systems.

Having contributed €4.2 billion since 2002, France is the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which gives 11 million people access to HIV/AIDS treatment worldwide. It is the largest contributor to Unitaid, an agency that accelerates the availability of the most effective, least expensive innovations to better treat, diagnose and prevent these diseases.

During the conference, France will urge the international community to mobilize to ensure the success of the Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which will be held in France at President Macron's invitation in 2019. It will represent a key step forward in the international goal to eliminate AIDS by 2030.


Has the aid sent to Eastern Ghouta been distributed yet?

Following the May 24th coordination meeting in Saint Petersburg between the French and Russian Presidents, France and Russia carried out a joint humanitarian project in Syria to meet the needs of the civilian population which remains very sizeable in Eastern Ghouta (Douma).

More than 50 tons of French humanitarian aid were shipped to Syria aboard a Russian aircraft during the night of July 20. The humanitarian cargo provided by France consists of medical equipment and basic necessities. On Saturday it was turned over to the UN, which will supervise its distribution. The aid will be transported to Eastern Ghouta and distributed there in accordance with international humanitarian law, as swiftly as possible.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 2401 (2018), the goal of this project is to give civilian populations better access to aid. Humanitarian assistance is an absolute priority; it must be provided according to the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence - throughout Syria, without exception, where international humanitarian law must be fully respected.

Apart from supporting and protecting White Helmets and their families, is France prepared to welcome these people, as Great Britain, Canada, and Germany have already said they would?

France is an active member of the operation that allowed the White Helmets and their families to leave Syria, where their security was seriously compromised.

This operation provides for their resettlement in third countries. France will do its part to welcome White Helmets and their families.

It will continue to work on behalf of these courageous individuals who risked their lives day after day to help the Syrian people.

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