The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 31, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Security / Defense – France, the UN and the OIF train instructors for French-speaking contingents in UN peacekeeping operations (January 31, 2019)

◢  Venezuela

◢  Situation of jihadists in northeastern Syria

Security / Defense – France, the UN and the OIF train instructors for French-speaking contingents in UN peacekeeping operations (January 31, 2019)

France, the UN and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) are committed to increasing the preparedness level of French-speaking contingents deployed in UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs). Indeed, half of PKOs operate in French-speaking areas of the world.

For the fourth consecutive year, France is hosting from January 21 to February 1, 2019, a UN training of trainers course for senior officers of countries providing UN peacekeepers. These sessions are aimed at guaranteeing uniformity in training for contingents from different backgrounds and at facilitating these countries' engagement in peacekeeping operations. They will also help ensure that national pre-deployment training programs are consistent with UN standards.

A class of 39 military trainees from partner countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, South Korea, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Peru, DRC, Senegal, Switzerland, Chad, Togo and Tunisia) will therefore be trained by a UN team in PKO staff procedures. This training course will focus on operational issues (structures and functioning of PKOs, planning, crisis management, etc.), ethical and professional issues (international humanitarian law, standards of behavior during operations, etc.), as well as other cross-cutting issues relating to peacekeeping and peacebuilding ("women, peace and security," protection of children, etc.).

In total, more than 160 trainees have received training since 2016. The closing ceremony will take place at the OIF headquarters on February 1 at 2.30 pm.


For what reason are the two French journalists from the TMC channel who were arrested on Tuesday in Venezuela being held, and what steps have been taken to secure their release?

We have been in touch with the Venezuelan authorities from the moment our compatriots were arrested. We are demanding their release and are doing everything we can to secure it without delay.

Situation of jihadists in northeastern Syria

Were a group of French jihadists—82 in all—transferred to Iraq, as Le Figaro reported on Thursday, citing a source close to the SDF? Are these the fighters who were arrested in recent days along the Syrian-Iraqi border, or prisoners held for several months by the Kurds?

As Jean-Yves Le Drian said yesterday, the government has a single imperative, the security of the French.

It is this imperative that led us to fight Daesh militarily, and it is that same imperative that leads us to fight Daesh fighters, regardless of their nationality.

The French government's position has always been that those who have committed crimes must be tried where they committed them. That is what is happening in Iraq, as the French nationals were tried and sentenced in that country.

In Syria, the situation is more complicated: a portion of the territory is still at war, in the northeast, and the announcement of the American withdrawal may result in the dispersion of these terrorists. We are therefore preparing for all eventualities in the northeast, including the possibility of an expulsion.

With regard to foreign jihadists in northeastern Syria, is there cooperation between France, Tunisia, Belgium and the UK on Europeans in general?

We are carrying out all actions, in concert and through international cooperation, necessary to ensure the security of French citizens, which is our absolute priority.

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