The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - December 7, 2018
In this issue:

◢  Algeria – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to Oran (December 8, 2018)

◢  Morocco / Western Sahara – Round table in Geneva (December 5-6, 2018)

◢  Parity goal

◢  Turkey

Algeria – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to Oran (December 8, 2018)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the beatification ceremony for 19 priests, nuns and other religious individuals of the Catholic Church in Algeria, who were victims of terrorism, including 15 French citizens.

The minister of state will therefore pay tribute, on behalf of France, to these compatriots who brought honor to their countries of origin as well as their adopted countries thanks to their courage and determination to remain with their Algerian friends at a difficult time in their history. They include: Father Henri Vergès and Sister Paul-Hélène Saint-Raymond, murdered on May 8, 1994; Sister Odette Prévost, murdered on November 10, 1994; Fathers Jean Chevillard, Alain Dieulangard and Christian Chessel from the Congregation of White Fathers, murdered on December 27, 1994; Sister Denise Leclerc, murdered on September 3, 1995; seven Trappist monks from Tibhirine (Brothers Christian de Chergé, Célestin Ringeard, Christian Lemarchand, Michel Fleury, Christophe Lebreton, Paul Favre-Miville and Paul Dochier), kidnapped on March 27, 1996, and murdered shortly afterward; Bishop Pierre Claverie, murdered on August 1, 1996.

France is grateful to Algeria for hosting this beatification ceremony which will provide an opportunity to celebrate the message of peace, brotherhood and tolerance that continues to inspire us thanks to the commitment and sacrifice of these men and women. It pays tribute to Algeria which has been able to embark on the path of peace and national reconciliation.

Morocco / Western Sahara – Round table in Geneva (December 5-6, 2018)

France welcomes the holding of the preliminary round table discussions between Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania in Geneva on December 5 and 6, on the initiative of Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara Horst Köhler. This meeting provided an opportunity to bring the four delegations together for the first time in 10 years in order to take stock of the most recent developments, address regional issues and discuss the next steps in the political process.

France welcomes the successful holding of these discussions in a constructive atmosphere, as well as the commitment of the four delegations to accept a new invitation from Mr. Köhler for a second round table in the first quarter of 2019.

On this occasion, France reaffirms its full support for the efforts of the personal envoy to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution in Western Sahara, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

Parity goal

The Quai d'Orsay was recently criticized for its delay in implementing the Sauvadet Law on providing women with access to the highest-ranking positions in your ministry. How do you respond to that?

Even before 2012 and since the passage of the Sauvadet Law, the Quai d'Orsay has been actively striving for parity. Today this translates into women occupying more than 30% of its senior positions (ambassadorial positions as well as those of directors and deputy directors). We have doubled the number of female ambassadors in the past 5 years, bringing their number to 46. The ministry is especially attentive to this, and percentage of first-time female appointments to ambassadorships is 35%.

This proactive policy has also been seen in the increased number of women receiving promotions, including at the highest level (foreign affairs counselors and plenipotentiaries). It is vital to the formation of a talent pool.

In addition, the ministry is working to ensure respect for the work-life balance (through the adoption of its time policy, the expansion of telework, etc.) and by providing support for the geographical mobility of its employees (the establishment of the Delegation on Families in September 2016 to foster the education of children and spousal access to the work market; the signing of bilateral agreements to make it easier for spouses to work).

The ministry, which intends to maintain its efforts over the long term, obtained the professional gender equality certification (AFNOR) in late 2017. Apart from its legal obligations, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is committed to guaranteeing parity among its employees and equality in its practices.


On Tuesday, a Turkish court upheld the sentence of Selahattin Demirtas for terrorist propaganda. What is your response?

We reiterate our concern over the conviction of the former Parliamentarian and the HDP party's presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, "for terrorist propaganda." Mr. Demirtas has been in pre-trial detention since 2016, a situation condemned by the European Court of Human Rights on November 20.

We stand by Turkey in the fight against terrorism. This fight must be carried out while respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights. France calls on Turkey to respect the right of every individual to a fair trial and urges it to promote political pluralism, in respect of its European and international commitments.

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