The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - November 19, 2019
In this issue:

◢  Brazil – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and the governors of the northeastern states (Paris - November 19, 2019)

◢  European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels - November 19, 2019)

◢  Israel / Palestinian Territories – Settlements

◢  Israel – Situation of Omar Shakir

◢  Iran

◢  Chile

Brazil – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and the governors of the northeastern states (Paris - November 19, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, met on Tuesday, November 19 with the Brazilian governors of the nine states of the consortium for sustainable development in the northeast. This meeting falls within the framework of the road map signed by Jean-Yves Le Drian and the nine governors on July 29 in Brasilia aimed at implementing projects linking sustainable development and the provision of quality public services. In keeping with his visit to Brazil, the minister reaffirmed France's determination to cooperate with all regions of Brazil.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs and the governors expressed their determination to continue to implement this road map, in particular the efforts of the French Development Agency in this region of Brazil, the strengthening of decentralized cooperation and academic and scientific cooperation. The sustainable development of the northeast, environmental protection and the fight against climate disruption were discussed.

European Union – Amélie de Montchalin's participation in the General Affairs Council (Brussels - November 19, 2019)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is taking part in the General Affairs Council in Brussels on November 19.

The ministers will start preparing for the European Council due to take place from December 12 to 13, 2019.

  • Climate change: The minister of state will reaffirm the need for the European Council to adopt, in December, the EU's long-term strategy in order to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
  • European budget 2021-2027: The minister of state will underscore that the European Council in December will be an important step for the European budget in terms of addressing all items (expenditure, revenue, conditionalities) based on the forthcoming budgeted proposal by the Finnish presidency. She will recommend that a Euro Summit be held in December in order to confirm progress on the eurozone budget.
  • Rule of law: Following an exchange of views with Michael O'Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the ministers will be invited to adopt conclusions assessing the annual rule of law dialogue, which allows for annual discussions at the Council on this topic. The minister of state will underscore the importance of the annual review of the human rights situation in the EU advocated by the Finnish presidency.
  • Accession process: The ministers will take stock of progress following the discussions at the Foreign Affairs Council on October 15 and the European Council from October 17 to 18. The minister of state will provide an update on our discussions relating to the reform of the accession process so that the Commission can swiftly outline proposals in this regard.

Israel / Palestinian Territories – Settlements

The Israeli settlement policy in the Occupied Territories is illegal under international law, especially international humanitarian law, and runs counter to Security Council resolutions. Settlements also contribute to heightening tensions on the ground and undermine the two-state solution.

This is France's unwavering position. We regret any decision liable to encourage continued settlement activity.

What's your response to the U.S. announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements contrary to international law?

I refer you to my statement.

Israel – Situation of Omar Shakir

What's your reaction to Israel's expulsion of Human Rights Watch's Israel/Palestine researcher?

France has taken note of the Israeli Supreme Court's decision on November 5 to uphold the revocation of the work permit of Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at the NGO Human Rights Watch

Governments are responsible for establishing and maintaining a safe and comfortable working environment for civil society, including NGOs. We have consistently emphasized this position in our contacts with Israeli authorities, both bilaterally and with our European partners.

In this context, France calls on the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision to revoke Omar Shakir's residence permit.


Do you believe that the nuclear agreement is in a state of brain death following the U.S. decision to end the waiver for the Fordow plant and in the wake of the latest Iranian violation, which exceeds the limit on Iran's stock of heavy water?

France is extremely concerned by Iran's failure to comply with its nuclear obligations, which could have serious consequences for proliferation.

Iran's resumption of its enrichment activities at the Fordow site, with potentially serious consequences for proliferation, is another measure that attests to a regrettable acceleration in Iran's disengagement from the Vienna agreement.

We also regret the U.S. decision, following Iran's resumption of enrichment at the Fordow site, to end the waiver that was intended to facilitate civil projects at the site.

Preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) directly contributes to peace and international security and to regional stability. France therefore intends to pursue its efforts—in close cooperation with its partners—to support the agreement and establish conditions to facilitate a de-escalation in tensions. France calls on Iran to comply fully with the agreement without delay.


Do you think the agreement reached on November 15 in Chile is a step in the right direction?

France welcomes the signing of an agreement at the Chilean Parliament on November 15 between the country's main political forces. This agreement opens the way, should the Chilean people so decide, to the drafting of a new Constitution, in keeping with the aspirations expressed in recent weeks by a large number of demonstrators as well as unions and social organizations.

France has taken note of President Sebastián Piñera's commitment to cooperate in a transparent manner with international organizations and to punish any abuses committed by security forces. We hope this agreement will restore calm after four weeks of protests marked by violence and unrest.

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