The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - October 17, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Jean-Yves Le Drian visiting Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso (October 17-19, 2018)

◢  Syria – Anniversary of the liberation of Raqqa

◢  North Korea

Jean-Yves Le Drian visiting Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso (October 17-19, 2018)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian is visiting Côte d'Ivoire on October 17 and 18 for discussions with Ivorian authorities, especially on regional and international issues, and to follow up on the French-Ivorian roadmap signed in 2017. This visit, which will take him to Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, will include a meeting with the President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and an opportunity to observe the progress that has been made on cooperative projects in several priority areas.

In the area of education, Mr. Le Drian will officially inaugurate the French-Ivorian educational hub at the Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët Boigny in Yamoussoukro, together with Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly. The Ivorian minister of higher education will also be in attendance, as well as several representatives of French institutions of higher learning (the Conference of University Presidents, Ecole Polytechnique, Union des Grandes Ecoles Indépendantes, CNAM, etc.). This hub enables Ivorian students to earn French university diplomas in Côte d'Ivoire.

Together with Ivorian Defense Minister Hamed Bakayoko, the Minister will unveil the Académie Internationale de Lutte contre le Terrorisme (National Counterterrorism Academy), a project that will be regional and international in scope, and which was announced by Presidents Macron and Ouattara in November 2017. Lastly, the Minister will meet with representatives of the French community to discuss our economic diplomacy.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in Ouagadougou on October 18-19, a little more than six months after his last visit. He will be hosted by President Roch Kaboré, with whom he will discuss boosting cooperation on counterterrorism as well as our partnership for development.

In that connection, he will inaugurate the Maison de l'Innovation et de la Jeunesse (Center for Innovation and Youth) in the presence of his Burkinabé counterpart, Alpha Barry. Known as "La Ruche" ("The Hive"), this center should serve as a catalyst for interactions between young talents, digital startups and opportunities in French higher education. A first for the French diplomatic network, this innovative facility fulfills one of the commitments made by President Macron in his Ouagadougou speech of November 2017; its high-speed Internet access and equipment are provided courtesy of the [French telecom] company Orange.

A working lunch with government officials will provide an opportunity to discuss support for the country's northern and eastern regions, which are receiving €130 million for current development projects, with an additional €125 million slated for 2019.

The Minister will also meet with representatives of the French community and will review the security measures taken after attacks on French interests and the Burkinabé army headquarters on March 2.

Syria – Anniversary of the liberation of Raqqa

A year ago to the day, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated the city of Raqqa with the support of the Global Coalition against Daesh, within which France played a key role. This victory dealt a decisive blow to the terrorist organization Daesh, which had made the city an epicenter from which it launched numerous attacks abroad, including those that hit our country hard. France pays tribute to all those who made considerable sacrifices in this fight, especially our SDF partners. The liberation of Mosul on July 9, 2017, was another important step in the fight against Daesh.

For a year now, military action has continued to result in considerable success, thanks to the courage of the local forces, the resolute commitment of the coalition and, within it, of France thanks to our Operation Chammal forces. Operations are currently continuing in order to retake Daesh's last strongholds in eastern Syria.

At the same time, France has mobilized €30 million since the liberation of Raqqa in support of humanitarian and stabilization projects in northeastern Syria. Between now and the end of 2018, France will continue to provide support to several large-scale projects in the region.

France's assistance in northeastern Syria will first and foremost make it possible to:

  • carry out mine clearance activities,
  • guarantee food security and support local agriculture,
  • improve access to water,
  • allow access to healthcare,
  • support the work of NGOs and international organizations in the refugee camps established in the region.

As a result in particular of President Macron's decision to provide exceptional funding of €50 million to Syrian civilians affected by the war, the amount of French aid devoted to the Syrian crisis has for the first time exceeded a total of €100 million.

Going forward, we will continue, together with our coalition partners, to support the return to normal life in these areas which we helped liberate.

North Korea

The special envoy for North Korea of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Paris today for meetings on the denuclearization process. Can you provide details about this visit?

We confirm that this meeting—which is part of a process of regular consultations with our partners—is taking place. We do not usually comment on the holding of meetings between senior officials.

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