The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - August 31, 2018
In this issue:

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the informal meeting of foreign ministers (Vienna - August 30, 2018)

◢  Development – Visit by Jean-Yves le Drian and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to the headquarters of the French Development Agency (Paris - September. 3, 2018)

◢  United Nations – Adoption of Resolution 2433 renewing UNIFIL's mandate (August 30, 2018)

European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the informal meeting of foreign ministers (Vienna - August 30, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers ("Gymnich"), which took place on August 30 in Vienna at the invitation of the Austrian presidency and the high representative.

The discussions focused on the following points:

  • Iran: The ministers reaffirmed their attachment to the nuclear agreement concluded in Vienna and their determination to do everything possible to preserve it. They took stock of progress in this area at the European level, following the reintroduction of the first U.S. sanctions on August 6. Jean-Yves Le Drian also underscored the need to start addressing other negotiation points: the future of Iran's nuclear commitments after 2025, ballistic missile proliferation as well as Iran's role and activities in its regional environment.
  • Middle East peace process: The ministers also addressed the Middle East peace process and the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, underscoring the importance of supporting the work of UNRWA.
  • Syria: The situation in Syria was thoroughly debated. Jean-Yves Le Drian warned about the threat of an attack by the regime in Idlib which poses an extremely serious risk to the civilian populations and raises concerns about possible chemical attacks by the regime.
  • Transatlantic relations: Jean-Yves Le Drian called on Europeans to remain united with respect to defending their interests and the need to promote effective multilateralism—with respect to global challenges such as those associated with climate, the environment and trade relations—and to continue dialogue on these different points with the United States in order to strengthen cooperation with Washington on issues of common interest.
  • Western Balkans: The ministers took stock of the follow-up to the EU-Balkans summit in Sofia on May 17 and the implementation of the priority agenda adopted on this occasion. They also discussed the most recent developments in the region such as the conclusion in June of the agreement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the latter's new name, as well as the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. The discussions were followed by a working session on the topic of effective multilateralism attended by the foreign ministers of the candidate countries.

The migrant situation in the Mediterranean and the situation in Venezuela were also discussed.

Development – Visit by Jean-Yves le Drian and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to the headquarters of the French Development Agency (Paris - September. 3, 2018)

On September 3, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit the headquarters of the Agence Française de Développement, accompanied by Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. He will be welcomed by its chief executive officer, Rémy Rioux.

The minister will meet with members of the AFD's executive board to discuss strategic and policy directions set by the government for the agency as it executes France's bilateral development and international solidarity policy. The minister will emphasize our determination to renew our ambitions for development assistance, establishing a true investment policy characterized by solidarity, focused on global common goods and given increased resources. Beginning in 2019, a billion euros will be allocated to the agency for additional donations/projects in keeping with the new direction set by the President, with the aim of bringing ODA to 0.55% of GDP by 2022.

Mr. Le Drian will meet with AFD employees and will conclude his visit with a press conference. He will detail the government's development policy and guidelines given to the agency for 2019, particularly the geographic and sectoral priorities of the additional budgetary appropriations, in line with the conclusions of the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development on February 8.

The AFD's chief executive officer will then present the commitments included in the agency's strategic plan for 2018-2022, which will contribute to these ambitions, and the innovative new dimensions—based on partnerships, sectors and geographic areas—of AFD's work in support of global common goods.

United Nations – Adoption of Resolution 2433 renewing UNIFIL's mandate (August 30, 2018)

France welcomes the Security Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 2433 renewing the mandate of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year.

Through this resolution, the Security Council reaffirmed its unity and its commitment to Lebanon's stability and regional security. UNIFIL fully contributes to these goals by ensuring respect for the cessation of hostilities along the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel, and by providing support for the reinforcement of the Lebanese Armed Forces on Lebanese soil and in Lebanese territorial waters to enable the Lebanese state to fully exercise its authority and its sovereignty in accordance with Resolution 1701 (2006).

While preserving the Force's mandate, the resolution also highlights the need to guarantee its freedom of movement and the measures that need to be taken by member states to prevent the sale or supply of weapons or equipment that have not been authorized by the Government of Lebanon or UNIFIL.

France continues to make a decisive contribution to this peacekeeping operation, with the deployment of a contingent of more than 700 men. Its commitment to Lebanon is also reflected by the support it provided to that country at the 2018 spring conferences, especially in the form of support for its armed forces and security forces at the Rome II conference.

On this occasion, and given the challenges facing Lebanon, France calls on Lebanese political forces to form a new government without delay.

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