The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - October 31, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Lebanon – Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (October 31, 2019)

◢  Netherlands / Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to The Hague and Amsterdam (November 1-2, 2019)

◢  International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Election of Rafael Mariano Grossi as director general (October 30, 2019)

◢  United Nations – International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (October 31, 2019)

 
Lebanon – Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (October 31, 2019)

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 29, it is crucial for Lebanon's future that a government be formed swiftly that is capable of carrying out the reforms the country needs.

Amid the economic, social and political crisis that has been sweeping Lebanon in recent weeks, it is up to all Lebanese political leaders to promote a spirit of national unity and responsibility to guarantee the country's stability, security and general interest.

In this spirit, everything must be done to avoid provocations and violence, and to preserve the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

It is vital for all political forces to immediately facilitate the formation of a new government capable of responding to the legitimate aspirations expressed by the Lebanese and to take essential decisions to ensure the country's economic recovery. Within the framework established by the CEDRE conference, France stands ready to support Lebanon on this path.

In this crucial moment, France, as always, stands side by side with the Lebanese people.



Netherlands / Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to The Hague and Amsterdam (November 1-2, 2019)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in the Netherlands on November 1 and 2. This visit reflects the close cooperation between our two countries, both founding members of the European Union and leading partners on international issues.

With his Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, the minister will continue our ongoing dialogue on top European issues, especially Brexit, the future European budget, and the EU's enlargement policy. The ministers will discuss the management of major international crises and will talk about the external operations to which both of our countries contribute, as well as our cooperation on conflict prevention and stabilization, specifically in the Sahel.

During his trip to The Hague, Mr. Le Drian will also meet with Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The minister will reaffirm France's support for the OPCW, a key component of the chemical disarmament and non-proliferation regime and hence of the global security architecture. They will review the issue of chemical weapons in Syria, especially the investigations into the use of toxic agents in that country as well as the drafting of the investigation team's first report and the identification of the perpetrators of chemical attacks recently determined by the OPCW. Jean-Yves Le Drian will talk about the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons established in January 2018 at France's behest, and which now brings together 40 countries and the EU.

On November 2, the minister will take part in the official opening of the "House of all Languages," a forum for exchange between languages and cultures in Amsterdam. French language and culture and the Descartes library inaugurated in January will be showcased in the presence of Leïla Slimani, winner of the Prix Goncourt and personal representative of the French president for Francophone affairs, as well as the French community.



International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Election of Rafael Mariano Grossi as director general (October 30, 2019)

France congratulates Rafael Mariano Grossi on his election as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and wishes him every success.

France will lend its full support to the new director general in his efforts to fulfill his essential missions at the IAEA in order to respond to the major challenges posed by the nuclear proliferation crises and the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the best conditions of safety, security and non-proliferation.

We are aware of the priority that the IAEA must continue to attach to the promotion of the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a large number of key sectors, such as energy, medicine, the fight against climate change and scientific and technical research.

France commends the other candidates for the post of general director: Cornel Feruta, who has done invaluable work over the last few months as acting director general, as well as Lassina Zerbo, whose mission at the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization is universally recognized, and to which France lends its constant support.



United Nations – International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (October 31, 2019)

On the occasion of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, France reaffirms its attachment to the safety of journalists and to the promotion of press freedom everywhere.

Frequently threatened, sometimes attacked or imprisoned, some journalists pay with their lives for their commitment to providing information to their fellow citizens—more than 30 journalists have been killed this year according to the NGO Reporters Without Borders.

While crimes against them too often go unpunished, France calls for the perpetrators of such crimes to be brought to justice and for states to work toward establishing a safe environment for journalists to carry out their work. This is one of the goals of the Information and Democracy Initiative launched by Reporters Without Borders, which France actively supports and which 30 states have already joined.


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