The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - May 2, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Italy – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to Florence (May 3-4, 2019)

◢  Summit of the Two Shores – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Montpellier Forum (May 2-3, 2019)

◢  Western Sahara – Renewal of MINURSO mandate

◢  Morocco

◢  Bahrain

 
Italy – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to Florence (May 3-4, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Florence, Italy, from May 3 to 4.

The minister will deliver a speech at the State of the Union conference, which has been hosted every year since 2010 by the European University Institute in Florence; the 2019 edition will focus on "21st century democracy in Europe."

Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet with Enrico Rossi, President of the Tuscany Region, and with Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, in a context of especially close cooperation between Tuscany and France. He will meet with French companies established in this region; France is Tuscany's largest client, its largest supplier and second largest foreign investor.

During his visit, the minister will take part in the launch of the "Francia in scena" arts season with the Parade of Giants, an animated procession—a French-Italian co-production inspired by works from the Renaissance and Leonardo de Vinci—, created by French artist Léonard Martin, who is currently a resident fellow at the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Médicis.



Summit of the Two Shores – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne's participation in the Montpellier Forum (May 2-3, 2019)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will open the Montpelier Forum on Cultural Cooperation in the Mediterranean today. This forum is one of the five thematic meetings being held in preparation for the Summit of the Two Shores due to take place in Marseille from June 23 to 24.

The Summit of the Two Shores, an initiative launched by President Macron last year, is aimed at reviving a momentum for cooperation in the Western Mediterranean through concrete projects in support of human, economic and sustainable development in the region. It is based on the framework for the 5+5 Mediterranean Dialogue which brings together 5 states from the northern shore of the Mediterranean (France, Spain, Italy, Malta and Portugal) and five states from the southern shore (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia). The EU, Germany, the pan-European organizations and the main international economic organizations working in the region are involved in the dialogue.

In the run-up to the Marseille summit, the Montpelier Forum is aimed at promoting a new approach within the Western Mediterranean on the priority issues of culture, media and tourism. During two days of debates, almost 200 participants from the civil societies of the 5+5 Dialogue countries will share their initiatives aimed at fostering the emergence of innovative, inclusive and ambitious projects.

In addition to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Montpellier Méditerranée metropolitan area, the Università della Svizzera Italiana of Lugano, the Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement of Geneva, and the Institut de recherche et d'études Méditerranée Moyen-Orient (IReMMO) are partners in this event.



Western Sahara – Renewal of MINURSO mandate

What is your reaction to Resolution 2468 on the Sahara, which the Security Council adopted on Tuesday and which highlights the Moroccan autonomy proposal?

France is pleased by the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2468, which renews MINURSO's mandate. It reiterates its full support for this operation, which plays a major role in supporting peace and stability in the region.

France reaffirms its desire for the implementation of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution. In this regard, it considers the 2007 Moroccan autonomy plan a serious and credible basis for discussions.

It will continue to support the efforts of the UN secretary-general's personal envoy, Horst Köhler, and the process he launched in Geneva last December and consolidated in March bringing together Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania.



Morocco

Can you confirm the appointment of Hélène Le Gal to head France's embassy in Rabat starting in September? Is this appointment connected with her recent summoning by the Israeli Foreign Ministry after the former French ambassador in Washington remarked that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank was equal to apartheid?

The appointment of the next ambassador to Rabat will be announced in due time.



Bahrain

What was the French authorities' message to the Bahraini authorities on the case of Nabeel Rajab during the king's visit this week?

The Bahraini King's visit to Paris on April 29-30 was a much anticipated high-water mark in our bilateral relationship and was characterized by a dense program with substantive discussions on both regional issues and bilateral challenges.

The issue of human rights was raised during these talks. President Macron specifically remarked on the King's recent decision to restore the Bahraini nationality to 551 people and encouraged him to continue on this path.


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