The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - October 31, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Ireland – Meetings held by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Nathalie Loiseau with Simon Coveney, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (October 31, 2018)

◢  Morocco – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Moroccan counterpart (Paris - October 31, 2018)

◢  Chemical weapons – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (October 31, 2018)

◢  Pakistan – Acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court

◢  Iran

 
Ireland – Meetings held by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Nathalie Loiseau with Simon Coveney, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (October 31, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will have meetings with Tànaiste Simon Coveney, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, this afternoon. His visit falls within the framework of France's regular dialogue with Ireland.

During his meeting, Mr. Le Drian will notably discuss the negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, including the development of transport routes between Ireland and France. France stands in solidarity with Ireland with respect to the need to ensure the absence of a physical border with Northern Ireland following the UK's withdrawal.

The ministers will also discuss the Middle East peace process. As at previous meetings, Mr. Le Drian and Mr. Coveney will discuss relations with Africa. Indeed, our two countries share the same belief that major EU investment is needed to ensure that Africa is able to address our common challenges, including with respect to migration. Issues relating to European security will also be discussed.

The meeting with Ms. Loiseau will provide an opportunity to continue the discussions on Brexit. The ministers will also discuss the next Multiannual Financial Framework. Our countries notably share the same position with respect to maintaining the budget for the Common Agricultural Policy. Ms. Loiseau will also discuss the taxation of digital services and our desire to ensure that the European Commission's proposal is adopted by the end of the year.



Morocco – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Moroccan counterpart (Paris - October 31, 2018)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, will today receive his Moroccan counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita.

Mr. Le Drian and Mr. Bourita will discuss regional and international issues. Morocco is a key partner of France in the face of regional instability, notably in the Sahel and in Libya.

The two ministers will also discuss the fight against terrorism, which affects both shores of the Mediterranean. In this respect, Morocco is a valuable ally for France and makes an effective contribution to this common fight.

The ministers will discuss the main bilateral economic projects, notably the high-speed rail line between Kenitra and Tangiers, as well as the activities of subsidiaries of French firms based in Morocco, which participate fully in Morocco's economic and social development strategies.

This visit will provide an opportunity for in-depth dialogue on ways to further strengthen the special partnership between our two countries. France is the largest foreign investor in Morocco, its second largest supplier (with exports worth &eur;4.3 billion in 2016) and its second largest client (with imports worth €4.2 billion in 2016.) We enjoy outstanding educational cooperation: Moroccans represent the largest contingent of foreign students in France (37,000), while France maintains its second largest network of French schools in the world in Morocco, with almost 38,000 students.



Chemical weapons – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (October 31, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosting Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), today.

This meeting comes amid the global reemergence of chemical weapons, which have been used since 2012 by state and non-state actors in the Levant, in Asia and in 2018 in Europe, on UK soil. The minister will emphasize that these events and this context call for a strong response by the OPCW.

Mr. Le Drian and Mr. Arias will review the chemical weapons situation in Syria, especially the strong uncertainties that remain with regard to the initial Syrian declaration to the OPCW and current investigations into the use of toxic agents in Syria identified by the organization in the course of 2018.

The minister will evoke the implementation of the decision adopted in June to bolster the Organization's resources. That decision provides, in particular, for the creation of an attribution mechanism to identify those using chemical weapons in Syria. Such mechanisms are crucial in reinforcing the prohibition against such weapons and as a deterrent to their use.

Mr. Le Drian will stress that protecting the chemical weapons non-proliferation regime is vital to preserving our system of collective security and that all states parties to the convention are responsible for protecting it and pledging that they will not accept impunity for any of the actors involved in using such weapons, in developing military chemical programs or in transferring sensitive or dual-use materials to the laboratories of proliferating countries.

It is in this spirit that on January 23, France launched an international partnership against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. Joined by 38 nations and the European Union, the partnership has posted on its Internet site the names of more than 200 individuals and entities sanctioned for their role in the use or proliferation of such weapons.



Pakistan – Acquittal of Asia Bibi by the Supreme Court

France welcomes the Pakistani court's decision to acquit Asia Bibi.

We reaffirm our deep commitment to the freedom of religion, the freedom of expression and the freedom of opinion.



Iran

Do you, like Denmark, want a discussion to take place within the EU on the need to take additional sanctions against Iran?

The Danish authorities informed France of the attempted attack prepared on their soil by an Iranian intelligence service. France assures them of its full solidarity.

France itself was confronted with an attempted attack that was thwarted on June 30, and on October 2 it adopted targeted, proportional measures against those in Iran who were responsible for it.

President Macron and Minister Le Drian have regularly communicated our concern to their Iranian counterparts over Iran's destabilizing actions in the region and beyond. Tehran must behave responsibly on the international scene.

Any attack on our territory or on that of another EU member state is intolerable and cannot go without a firm response.



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