The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 26, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Australia – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Australian counterpart (February 26, 2019)

◢  North Macedonia – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Skopje - February 26, 2019)

◢  India – Fight against terrorism (February 25, 2019)

◢  Iran

Australia – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Australian counterpart (February 26, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will receive his Australian counterpart, Marise Payne, today, Tuesday, February 26, for a meeting followed by a working dinner.

The ministers will discuss regional security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as key current issues. Jean-Yves Le Drian will also discuss the priorities of the French presidency in the run-up to the G7 summit in Biarritz in August.

Following President Macron's visit to Australia in May last year, this meeting will provide an opportunity to adopt the progress report on the implementation of the AFiniti initiative (France-Australia Initiative) which translates into concrete actions the enhanced strategic partnership signed in March 2017.

This initial assessment of the AFiniti initiative shows that, less than a year after its launch, several projects have already been completed, notably in the areas of security, training, the environment and climate, as well as science and technology.

North Macedonia – Visit by Nathalie Loiseau (Skopje - February 26, 2019)

European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau is in North Macedonia today. She is meeting with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and leading political officials, as well as students and representatives of Macedonian civil society.

These conversations will address our bilateral cooperation, which is already active in the economic sphere, but which we would like to expand further. In the cultural sphere, Ms. Loiseau and the Minister of Education and Science will sign an agreement on bilingual French-language sections in the country's schools.

Ms. Loiseau will hail the entry in force of the Prespa agreement, which ends the more-than-quarter-century-long dispute with Greece and opens positive new prospects for North Macedonia and the entire region. The European Affairs Minister will reaffirm France's hope that the Republic of North Macedonia will join the Atlantic Alliance in the near future. She will underscore our commitment to the region's stability and our wish to strengthen our ties with the Western Balkans.

Ms. Loiseau will reiterate the French position on the rapprochement between the EU and the countries of the Western Balkans and will specifically emphasize the need for full compliance with the rule of law, which is central to European values, and for the continuation of reforms. France will continue its support for North Macedonia with this in mind.

India – Fight against terrorism (February 25, 2019)

France utterly condemns the appalling attack carried out on February 15 against the Indian security forces in Pulwama, for which the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility.

France recognizes India's legitimacy in ensuring its security against cross-border terrorism and calls on Pakistan to put an end to the activities of the terrorist groups established in its territory.

France, which stands alongside India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms, is fully committed to mobilizing the international community to punish the terrorists responsible for this attack and to block their channels of financing.

We solemnly call on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint in order to avert any risk of military escalation and to preserve strategic stability in the region.

The resumption of bilateral dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi is necessary in order to launch efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the disputes.


What is your response to the announcement of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's resignation? Is his departure liable to cast a shadow on the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement?

We have taken note of Mr. Zarif's announcement of his resignation.

France is committed to the implementation of the JCPoA, which it will continue to support as long as Iran abides by all of its nuclear obligations. Unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231, this agreement is a key component of the non-proliferation regime and an important factor in international and regional security.

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