The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - October 11, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Estonia – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu (Paris, October 11, 2019)

◢  EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian to attend the Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg - October 14, 2019)

◢  International Day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2019)

Estonia – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu (Paris, October 11, 2019)

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted his Estonian counterpart, Urmas Reinsalu, today.

This meeting comes amid excellent bilateral relations between France and Estonia, including a close defense and security partnership, especially in the area of external operations and support for the European Intervention Initiative.

Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed our country's support for the security of the Baltic states through France's contribution to the Baltic Air Policing mission and the deployment of French troops in Estonia. He thanked Urmas Reinsalu for the commitment of the Estonian contingent deployed in Operation Barkhane and invited him to support the Partnership for Security and Stability in the Sahel (P3S).

The two ministers also discussed Estonia's upcoming entry into the Security Council as a non-permanent member for the two-year 2020-2021 term, which will enable our two countries to further strengthen their cooperation on major international issues.

EU – Jean-Yves Le Drian to attend the Foreign Affairs Council (Luxembourg - October 14, 2019)

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian will take part in the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on October 14.

The ministers will discuss the following points:

  • Syria: with the UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, in attendance, the ministers will discuss Syria in view of Turkey's unilateral military offensive in the northeastern part of that country. France will reiterate its condemnation of that intervention and, along with the other EU member countries, will once again call for a rapid halt to that offensive. The ministers will continue their efforts toward achieving a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis.
  • Afghanistan: the ministers will discuss the situation in Afghanistan in a context marked by the Afghan presidential election and the prospect for a resumption of talks between the Americans and the Taliban.
  • Ukraine: the ministers will discuss Ukraine before an informal luncheon with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko. France will reaffirm its support for Ukraine and its desire to stand by that country as it carries out reforms, especially those relating to the rule of law. It will review the main advances achieved in the so-called Normandy Format talks.

The ministers will also exchange views on other current issues: the situation in Iran and tensions in the Gulf; the situation in Libya following discussions held at the UN General Assembly, and particularly during the ministerial meeting co-chaired by France and Italy on September 26; Iraq in the context of the protest movement that has emerged in the country since October 1; and Venezuela. Turkish drilling in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone will also be discussed.

International Day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2019)

Since 2012, the international community has celebrated International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. The purpose of this day is to highlight the challenges and discrimination faced by girls in preparing them for the future on an equal footing with boys.

Progress has been made over the past decade (30% reduction in child marriages and female genital mutilation, gender parity in elementary school at the global level), but much work remains to be done. 12 million girls under 18 still get married every year, and 15 million adolescents have experienced forced sex, while more than 130 million girls around the world do not have access to education. Girls are also particularly affected by armed conflict.

France encourages and supports the states that have adopted compulsory schooling for girls, that facilitate their access to training courses in promising new areas, including in technological and scientific fields, that facilitate access by all young people to the opportunities offered by digital technologies, that enable adolescents to access quality sexual health services, that combat discriminatory practices and social norms. This is the idea behind the feminist diplomacy advocated during the Joint G7 Development and Education Ministers Meeting in July aimed at improving girls' access to education and retention in schools.

On this symbolic day, France reaffirms its commitment to the rights of the girl child, reflected by its concrete and innovative action, including the forthcoming launch in Niger and Ethiopia of a development impact contract in order to help improve menstrual hygiene management, which is critical to the retention of girls in school. Commitment will be further increased in 2020 when we will mark the 25th anniversary of the last United Nations World Conference on Women and the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and Paris will host the Generation Equality Forum. This international summit, co-chaired by France and Mexico and organized by UN Women, will bring together states as well as actors from civil society and the private sector. It will constitute a milestone in promoting women's rights since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995.

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