The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - May 17, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Mali – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - May 17, 2019)

◢  Azerbaijan – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - May 17, 2019)

◢  Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad (May 20-21, 2019)

◢  UN – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17, 2019)

◢  Iraq

◢  G5 Sahel

◢  Ukraine

 
Mali – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - May 17, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Tiebile Drame, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali, today.

The minister welcomed the recent signing of an agreement between the Malian government and the opposition signaling the desire of the various parties to work together to ensure the country's stability. He called for the accelerated implementation of the agreement signed in Algiers, as well as the strengthening of the process of dialogue and reconciliation in central Mali.

Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed France's strong commitment to security in the Sahel and his desire to support the efforts to stabilize Mali and other countries in the region, notably within the framework of the G5 Sahel.

The ministers reaffirmed their desire to maintain close cooperation between our two countries on security issues, as well as with respect to economic and development issues.



Azerbaijan – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart (Paris - May 17, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, today.

The ministers welcomed the excellent political dialogue between our two countries and the prospects for developing our bilateral cooperation, notably in the economic and academic spheres. Azerbaijan is France's leading economic partner in the South Caucasus region, with bilateral trade amounting to €614 million in 2018, marked by an 11.8% increase in our exports.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and his interlocutor discussed regional security and the process to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The ministers underscored the importance of implementing confidence-building measures agreed upon by the Azerbaijani president and the Armenian prime minister during their meeting in Vienna on March 29. He assured his counterpart of France's resolute, full and impartial commitment to the efforts of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group to find a negotiated and lasting solution to the conflict.

The ministers also discussed relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, while we marked the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership at the beginning of the week in Brussels. The minister assured his counterpart of our support for the negotiations with a view to concluding a new partnership agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan in the near future.



Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad (May 20-21, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and then Chad from May 20 to 21.

In Kinshasa, the minister will be formally received by President Felix Tshisekedi. During this meeting he will underscore France's determination to forge a long-term partnership with the DRC focusing on three major priorities: education, health and security. He will also signal our desire to work together to combat climate change, protect biodiversity and promote all aspects of French language and culture.

The minister will visit the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (National Institute of Biomedical Research) (INRB), which works jointly with the Institut de Recherche et de Développement (Institute of Research and Development) (IRD) and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (National Institute for Health and Medical Research) (INSERM) to improve research into the Ebola virus.

The minister will discuss security issues during a working meeting with the Congolese authorities and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Leila Zerrougui. He will deliver an address on security issues in Africa and the DRC before an audience at the Centre des Hautes Etudes de Stratégie et de Défense.

He will visit the Institut français in Kinshasa to discuss cultural cooperation in the run-up to the 2020 Season of African Cultures as well as educational and cultural cooperation between France and the DRC.

He will also meet with representatives of civil society and up-and-coming figures to discuss questions of governance.

In N'djamena, the minister will have an audience with President Idriss Déby. He will bring up the upcoming legislative elections; the fight against terrorism in the Sahel, in which Chad is a major partner; and the situation in the Central African Republic and Libya.

He will also meet with National Assembly Vice President Moussa Kadam and heads of parliamentary groups represented in the National Assembly.

The minister will also review the situation in the Sahel with the commander of the Barkhane force, General Blachon.



UN – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17, 2019)

Throughout the world, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are the victims of harassment, torture, arbitrary arrest and even murder, often with complete impunity. Homosexuality continues to be a crime or misdemeanor in more than 70 countries and will soon be punished by death in 11 of them. In certain countries, homosexuality and transgenderism are considered illnesses.

On this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, France reaffirms its utmost determination to strive for equal rights and dignity for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It will continue to work toward the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. It will continue its direct support for actors on the ground and human rights activists, including LGBTI rights activists.

It will continue its efforts to promote this priority in its bilateral relations and in multilateral institutions. It applauds the progress already made with the UN's LGBT Core Group and the Equal Rights Coalition launched in 2016 in Montevideo, of which it is a founding member.



Iraq

Yesterday the UK raised the threat level in Iraq for its diplomatic and military personnel after the U.S. shared some intelligence on the situation. Did France receive this same information and do you also plan on increasing the level of vigilance for your personnel?

We have no comment on these announcements concerning British diplomatic personnel. We remain vigilant with respect to the security situation.



G5 Sahel

The foreign minister of Burkina Faso said yesterday that the G5 Sahel would not be enough to eradicate the terrorist threat in the region and called for the creation of a new international coalition like the one that exists for the Levant. Do you think such a coalition could be part of a new strategy for the region, given that the current policy isn't bearing fruit?

Given the security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel, the full mobilization of the G5 Sahel countries is vital. That is why France is working to drum up international support for the G5 Sahel force as well as the Sahel Alliance. It calls on its international partners to uphold their commitments in the region and to support the deployment by G5 Sahel countries of security forces and public services throughout their territory.

Effective international support is crucial. France will be watching to ensure that with the upcoming renewal of MINUSMA's mandate, the technical modalities of international support are better adapted to the needs of the G5 Sahel joint force.



Ukraine

The Ukrainian Parliament has decided that Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration as president of Ukraine will take place on May 20. Has France already received an invitation to the ceremony? Who will be representing France?

France will be represented by our ambassador.

Jean-Yves Le Drian plans to visit Ukraine in the very near future.


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