The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - July 31, 2019
In this issue:

◢  China / Situation of Huang Qi – Statement by France and Germany (July 31, 2019)

◢  North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (July 31, 2019)

◢  UN – Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

◢  Brazil

China / Situation of Huang Qi – Statement by France and Germany (July 31, 2019)

France and Germany are concerned by the harsh 12-year prison sentence handed down against the Chinese journalist Huang Qi by the Mianyang Immediate People's Court on July 29.

Huang Qi was arrested and convicted solely for carrying out his professional activities as a journalist and defender of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In light of his current state of health, we call on the Chinese authorities to release him immediately for humanitarian reasons and to end the arbitrary police measures targeting his family, including his 85-year-old mother who is currently under house arrest.

North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (July 31, 2019)

We took note, with deep concern, of information we received concerning further missile launches by North Korea on July 31, following those of last week.

France reaffirms its condemnation of these launches, which undermine regional and international security and stability. It calls on North Korea to comply with Security Council resolutions requiring it to refrain from all provocations and all missile launches involving ballistic technology, and to cease all activities related to a ballistic missile program.

France calls on North Korea to promptly resume its dialogue with the United States on denuclearization and to swiftly begin the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its WMD and ballistic missile programs for missiles of all ranges, as well as associated programs. That is the prerequisite for a lasting peace in the region.

UN – Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

On July 17, France voted in favor of a resolution by the United Nations Economic and Social Council accusing Israel of conducting a policy with negative consequences for "Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfilment of their rights, and their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society." How do you respond to critics of that vote, who point out that by voting alongside Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran—countries known to show little respect for women's rights—French diplomats took part in an anti-Israel masquerade and contributed to further discrediting UN bodies?

Two resolutions came up for a vote before the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on July 23. That body is composed of 54 states, including nine EU member states. The first resolution deals with living conditions for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, and that of Arab residents in the occupied Syrian Golan. The second deals with the situation of Palestinian women and the assistance to be provided to them.

With respect to the first resolution, 45 states voted in favor, including all of the EU member states represented. As for the second resolution, 40 states voted in favor, including France and five other EU states. These two resolutions were therefore adopted with the support of a large majority of ECOSOC members, including European members.

Notwithstanding certain allegations, the resolution on Palestinian women and the assistance to be provided to them includes no mention of the State of Israel being the "only country that violates the rights of women." Several times the resolution explicitly mentions the duty of all parties to protect civilian populations, in keeping with international humanitarian law. Article One does indeed reaffirm that the Israeli Occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to the fulfilment of their fundamental rights. But the resolution also emphasizes that Palestine must comply fully with its obligations as a State Party to human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The French vote is in line with our unwavering efforts on behalf of gender equality in France and worldwide, identified as a major cause by President Macron on March 8, 2017, and which France champions in multilateral bodies and in its bilateral relations. At the UN General Assembly, France presented a joint resolution with the Netherlands on combating violence against women. In 2020, under the auspices of UN Women, France and Mexico will co-host the Generation Equality Forum, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the Fourth UN World Conference on Women.


How does the French government interpret the attitude of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who canceled Monday's scheduled meeting with Foreign Minister Le Drian in order to get a haircut (live streamed on social media)? Do you have an official reaction to that cancellation? Might relations between France and Brazil further deteriorate following this episode, especially in the context of the EU-Mercosur agreement?

We have no comment. I refer you to the remarks made by Jean-Yves Le Drian at his joint press conference with his Brazilian counterpart, Ernesto Araujo.

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