The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 8, 2019
In this issue:

◢  United Nations / Syria – Geir Pedersen, new special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Syria takes office (January 8, 2019)

◢  Iran

◢  Azerbaijan

◢  Egypt

United Nations / Syria – Geir Pedersen, new special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Syria takes office (January 8, 2019)

France expresses its full support for Geir Pedersen, the new special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Syria, who takes office today, in assuming his new role.

We would like to thank Geir Pedersen's predecessor, Staffan de Mistura, for his efforts during his four-year term to implement a credible political process in order to achieve a lasting solution to the conflict.

France remains fully committed to finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis within the framework of UNSCR 2254.


Is France calling for specific measures at the European level with respect to Iran following the suspected attempted attacks in Europe and the ballistic missile launches in December?

The Council of the European Union decided today, with the unanimous agreement of all member states, to include on the European list of individuals, groups and entities involved in acts of terrorism, one entity and two individuals responsible for plotting to attack a meeting of the Mujahedeen Khalq, a group that advocates the overthrow of the Iranian leadership, on June 30, 2018, in Villepinte.

This European decision, which was taken on the basis of a national law adopted on October 2 by France to freeze the assets of these same entities and individuals, reflects the solidarity of EU member states and their determination to act in a united manner in order to respond to a hostile and unacceptable act perpetrated on European soil.

France also expresses its concern following the launch of a medium-range ballistic missile carried out by Iran on December 1. The European position on this issue is constant: As reaffirmed by Jean-Yves Le Drian on December 10 at the most recent Foreign Affairs Council, a discussion on limiting Iran's ballistic missile activities must be among the EU's requirements with respect to this country.

These elements do not call into question the commitment of France and its European partners to dialogue with Iran and the preservation of the Iranian nuclear deal, provided the Tehran authorities honor their obligations in this respect.


Mehman Huseynov, the famous blogger and activist for a free press who has been held in prison in Azerbaijan since March 2017, has been on a hunger strike for nearly two weeks. He is protesting a new set of bogus accusations that could earn him an additional 7 years in detention. What is France's response?

We are concerned by the situation of journalist and human rights activist Mehman Huseynov.

We are following his situation, and especially the conditions of his imprisonment, with the utmost attention.

We hope that the new criminal charges against Mehman Huseynov will be dropped and that he will soon be released.


Do you believe that Egypt has no political prisoners or prisoners of conscience, as President Sisi has stated?

France closely monitors the human rights situation in Egypt. We maintain a frank and regular dialogue with the Egyptian authorities on this issue. This dialogue notably covers individual cases.

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United States
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