The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - November 15, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Norway – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Norwegian counterpart (Paris - November 15, 2018)

◢  Development – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the National Council on Development and International Solidarity (Paris - November 16, 2018)

◢  Eritrea – Lifting of UN sanctions (November 14, 2018)

◢  Turkey – Saudi Arabia

Norway – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Norwegian counterpart (Paris - November 15, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will meet today with his Norwegian counterpart, Ine Eriksen Soreide.

The ministers will take stock of key international issues regarding which Norway is an important partner. The ministers will discuss European security issues following the Trident Juncture exercise organized by NATO in Norway. Jean-Yves Le Drian will reaffirm the need to develop greater European strategic autonomy and to continue to strengthen efforts in the area of security and defense at the national level, as well as within the European Union and NATO. Norway has a key role to play in the discussions that the Europeans must be able to hold with respect to ensuring strategic stability in Europe.

Mr. Le Drian will pay tribute to Norway's growing involvement in the Sahel. Norway notably contributes to international efforts in support of Mali through MINUSMA. With respect to Iran, the minister will underscore our attachment to the implementation of the JCPOA, in accordance with international agreements and international security. He will reaffirm France's commitment to preserving and maintaining operational financial channels with Iran so that it can continue to benefit from the economic advantages under the agreement, provided that it continues to fully comply with the agreement. The ministers will discuss the situation in the Middle East and the peace process, given that Norway is the current chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) which provides support to Palestine.

The ministers will also discuss the fight against climate change which is a major focus for joint French-Norwegian action. At the COP24 in December, Mr. Le Drian will underscore the importance of implementing the Paris agreement to which Norway actively contributed.

Development – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the National Council on Development and International Solidarity (Paris - November 16, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will convene key stakeholders in the area of development and international solidarity on November 16.

During this meeting, parliamentarians, representatives of local and regional authorities, non-governmental organizations, unions, employers, economic stakeholders, universities and research centers and high-level foreign officials will present their recommendations on the draft legislation on guidelines and programming for the partnership policy on development and international solidarity, announced by President Macron on August 27, which will be presented to Parliament by Jean-Yves Le Drian in the first quarter of 2019.

France wants to set a new goal for development policy, within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by confirming its commitment to increasing official development assistance to 0.55% of gross national income in 2022 and by updating its approach in order to increase the involvement of all actors concerned, especially civil society, youth, businesses and the diaspora.

In 2019, this commitment will notably be reflected by a €1 billion increase in AFD (French Development Agency) project aid commitments.

Eritrea – Lifting of UN sanctions (November 14, 2018)

France welcomes the unanimous adoption of UN Security Council resolution 2444 (2018) lifting the sanctions regime imposed on Eritrea in 2009.

The Security Council's decision lends support to the process of rapprochement currently under way in the Horn of Africa and which France backs fully, as witnessed when it invited Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to Paris on October 29. France hails the courage shown by Ethiopia and its Prime Minister, as well as the sense of responsibility demonstrated by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, which made it possible to end the 20-year-old conflict between their countries.

France is also pleased that with this resolution, the Security Council pledges to continue monitoring developments in the relationship between Eritrea and Djibouti in order to provide support for peace, stabilization and reconciliation in the Horn of Africa, leaving no country in the region on the sidelines with respect to the current dynamic. The Council reiterated its expectations regarding Eritrea’s intention to work with Djibouti to solve the border dispute between the two countries and the issue of Djiboutian prisoners of war. France encourages Eritrea and Djibouti to continue working to normalize their relations and stands ready to assist with that effort, together with both regional and international partners.

Turkey – Saudi Arabia

Turkey asked yesterday for an international investigation to establish the truth about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Do you support that call?

As Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated on Monday, the facts are extremely serious. The investigations that are conducted in particular by the Saudi prosecutor, but also by others, must get to the bottom of what happened.

We ask for a clear establishment of responsibility and for the perpetrators to be held accountable in a real trial. The Saudi authorities' announcement that they would hand over to the courts 18 individuals arrested in connection with the Saudi investigation is a step in the right direction. We will continue to monitor the proceedings closely and rigorously.

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