The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - June 13, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Moldova – Meeting between Amélie de Montchalin and Nicolae Popescu (Paris - June 13, 2019)

◢  Naval incident in the Sea of Oman

◢  Hong Kong

◢  Iraq

Moldova – Meeting between Amélie de Montchalin and Nicolae Popescu (Paris - June 13, 2019)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will receive the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, Nicolae Popescu, today.

Amélie de Montchalin will express France's attachment to the development of a prosperous Moldova that will remain true to its European roots. She will reiterate that our country, together with Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and Sweden, underscored on Monday that all Moldovan parties had a responsibility to resolve the current constitutional crisis by peaceful means. France stands ready to work together with its European partners toward reaching such a peaceful resolution.

Naval incident in the Sea of Oman

What is your response to the incidents that took place in the Sea of Oman this morning? Has the French naval base in Abu Dhabi been informed?

We have learned that a troubling incident involving two tankers in the Sea of Oman took place today, in a context of increasing tensions in the region, as also reflected by the attack targeted against Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia yesterday, which we strongly condemned.

We call on all actors concerned, with whom we are in continuous contact, to exercise restraint and to de-escalate the situation.

We also reaffirm our attachment to the freedom of navigation, which must be safeguarded at all costs.

With respect to your second point, please refer to the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

Hong Kong

Demonstrations in Hong Kong against the extradition bill haven't flagged, despite the announcement that debate on the bill would be postponed. What are your expectations with respect to the Hong Kong government?

The European Union has conveyed its concern to the Hong Kong authorities over the consequences that this bill could have for the citizens of Hong Kong and foreign residents. It called for continuing the dialogue between the government and its citizens, at a time when this bill is arousing significant fears.

France fully concurs with the EU and is following the situation closely. It shares all the concerns expressed yesterday by the European External Action Service spokesperson.


Is France prepared to pay the Iraqi authorities as they are demanding to commute the death sentences of French jihadist fighters to life in prison?

We have received no such demand. As the minister noted, we respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi state including that of its legal institutions, which have jurisdiction to judge French fighters belonging to Daesh. Three women detained in Iraq have already been given life sentences.

On the other hand, with respect to any death sentences that may be handed down, the Iraqi authorities know that we are opposed to capital punishment everywhere and in all circumstances, and that that is an intangible principle. We have told them so and will steadfastly continue to do so. We are asking them to commute death sentences handed down against French nationals.

That is the purpose of our discussions with the Iraqi authorities on this issue.

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