The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - May 13, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Italy – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and the deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation (May 13, 2019)

◢  European Union / Foreign Affairs Council – Meeting between the foreign and defense ministers and the ministers of the G5 Sahel countries (Brussels - May 14, 2019)

◢  Burkina Faso – Attack on a Catholic church (May 12, 2019)

◢  Turkey – Freedom of expression (May 13, 2019)

◢  Judgment of foreign terrorist fighters

◢  Arms sales

◢  Iran

 
Italy – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and the deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation (May 13, 2019)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Emanuela del Re, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, this morning.

The two ministers discussed the situation in the Sahel which requires a global response and the coordination of the two countries' efforts, given that Italy is a member of the Sahel Alliance.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and his interlocutor reaffirmed that the G7 ministerial meeting on development on July 4 will focus in particular on the Sahel region, notably in order to address challenges relating to development financing, the handling of fragility, and rural development. In the context of the priority given by the G7 to education, the secretary of state also reaffirmed his desire to ensure that the G7 countries can make a greater contribution to the Global Partnership for Education.

In the run-up to the Climate Summit due to be organized by the UN Secretariat-General on September 27, they also discussed their shared vision of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. They discussed the proposal to establish a European Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument devoted in particular to climate issues. They welcomed our two countries' active involvement in the fight against pandemics and discussed the goals set for the Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, due to take place in France in October.

They discussed the architecture and priorities of the EU's external action instruments, in the context of preparations for the next financial framework, while underscoring the importance of migration and climate issues.



European Union / Foreign Affairs Council – Meeting between the foreign and defense ministers and the ministers of the G5 Sahel countries (Brussels - May 14, 2019)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the joint meeting between the EU foreign and defense ministers and their counterparts from the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad).

The discussions will focus on the response to the security situation in the region, notably in central Mali and Burkina Faso. France will underscore the importance of the Sahel states' resolute commitment to the accelerated scaling up of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, in accordance with the UN-backed human rights compliance framework aimed at limiting the impact of the military operations on civilians. France will call on the EU and its member states to maintain their commitment to the Sahel, with respect to both the security aspect and the region's development, and to support the deployment by the G5 states of their security forces and public services throughout the region. France will reaffirm the importance of implementing the inclusive political process in Mali and reconciliation initiatives in vulnerable areas.



Burkina Faso – Attack on a Catholic church (May 12, 2019)

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack carried out on May 12 on a Catholic church in Dablo, in northern Burkina Faso, in which six people were killed according to the latest available estimates. This is the second attack on a Christian place of worship in northern Burkina Faso in less than a month.

France offers its condolences to the victims' families and to the Burkinabe people. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the Burkinabe authorities in the fight against terrorism.



Turkey – Freedom of expression (May 13, 2019)

France is continuing to closely monitor the trials in Turkey of academics who had signed a petition for peace in January 2016; they include 25 teachers from Galatasaray University, established by a French-Turkish agreement in 1992.

In these circumstances, it regrets the imprisonment on May 8 of Professor Füsun Üstel, who was sentenced to 15 months.

It also expresses its concern over the pretrial detention, begun last weekend, of Tuna Altinel, a lecturer at Université Lyon-I.

France reaffirms its commitment to academic freedom and to freedom of expression. It calls on Turkey to fully respect its commitments on human rights and fundamental liberties.



Judgment of foreign terrorist fighters

Yesterday the minister said, on the subject of French/foreign jihadists, "We are examining the possibility of creating a specific jurisdictional mechanism." Who is studying that? In what framework? Under what jurisdiction and in what legal system?

As the minister said, we remain committed to the principle of foreign jihadists being judged wherever they committed their crimes.

The particular situation in Syria is leading us to examine the possibility of creating a jurisdictional mechanism with a specific international dimension. The relevant departments are examining this option. European partners who have also envisioned this hypothesis should also take part in this examination.



Arms sales

The minister said yesterday on the subject of arms sales to the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, "If these weapons were to be used against civilians, that would be a breach of the Saudis' commitments to us" NGOs are stressing the fact that French weapons are being used in this war. Are you prepared to launch an independent investigation to shed light on this debate and bring an end to it?

As the minister said, we fully comply with our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). We respect the common European position on the subject, which includes provisions relating to international humanitarian law. We have an extremely demanding procedure for each sale of weapons abroad, and it includes a very strict specialized committee. Transfers are prohibited in particular when there is a risk that weapons be used for attacks on civilians. France's weapons exports are the subject of annual reports to Parliament, which are accessible to the public.

It is monitoring changes on the ground, and particularly the start of the implementation of the redeployment operations provided under the Stockholm agreement of December 13, under UN supervision.



Iran

What does the minister mean by "political maturity" when he's talking about Iran and its commitments?

I refer you to the minister's remarks in that interview.


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