The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 25, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Serbia – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Belgrade - February 25, 2019)

◢  United Nations

◢  Syria – Iraq

Serbia – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Belgrade - February 25, 2019)

Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, will visit Serbia on February 25. She will reaffirm our long-standing ties of friendship with Serbia and express France's desire to continue and to strengthen our political and regional cooperation.

The minister will meet with President Aleksandar Vucic, the main Serbian political leaders as well as students and representatives of civil society. She will work with them on preparations for President Macron's visit to the country.

France is committed to strengthening support for Serbia's economic and social development, thanks to the backing of the French Development Agency (AFD) under an agreement that will be signed by Ms. Loiseau and her Serbian counterparts. This agreement complements the commitment of France and its firms involved in major projects related to the upgrading of Belgrade Airport and the metro project in the Serbian capital. France would also like to strengthen our cooperation in the area of security, notably with respect to the fight against terrorism and organized crime.

Nathalie Loiseau will share our determination to strengthen our ties with the Western Balkans. She will reaffirm France's support for efforts to reach an agreement on the full normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, which is key to ensuring stability in the region. She will present France's position on the rapprochement between the EU and the Western Balkans countries and will reaffirm the need to ensure full respect for the rule of law, which is at the heart of European values, and to continue the reforms, which France supports.

United Nations

France will take up the Security Council presidency on March 1. What are the challenges of that presidency? What issues will be dealt with?

France will assume the monthly UN Security Council presidency in March.

It will focus on active support for peacekeeping, especially in Mali; conflict resolution and the commitment to peace; strengthening humanitarian access and protecting humanitarian personnel working in dangerous areas; compliance with international humanitarian law; and the defense of women in armed conflict and boosting their participation in the peace process.

Syria – Iraq

Did the Syrian Democratic Forces turn over 14 French jihadists to Iraq as military sources on the ground have claimed?

We are unable to confirm this information.

I will, however, remind you of our unwavering position: the Iraqi judicial authorities are the legitimate authorities when it comes to prosecuting all those who committed crimes on their territory, regardless of nationality.

The Syrian Democratic Forces urged foreign governments on Sunday to "assume their responsibilities" and repatriate their nationals who have been arrested for belonging to Islamic State. Will France respond to this increasingly pressing appeal at a time when the SDF is dealing with a surge of foreigners—men, women and children—from the final IS pocket?

We are continuing to examine the situation, but our single objective remains the security of the French people.

A woman held by the Syrian Democratic Forces for belonging to IS claims she holds dual Tunisian-French citizenship and is refusing to return to either Tunisia or France. Are you aware of this case and will she be repatriated if the SDF refuses to keep her there?

We do not comment on individual cases.

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