The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - November 20, 2019
In this issue:

◢  EU – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne attending Foreign Affairs Council in trade format (Brussels - November 21, 2019)

◢  Canada / Quebec – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx (November 20, 2019)

◢  Belarus – Parliamentary elections (November 17, 2019)

◢  Iran

◢  Syria – Israel

◢  Hong Kong

 
EU – Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne attending Foreign Affairs Council in trade format (Brussels - November 21, 2019)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will attend tomorrow's meeting of EU trade ministers (Foreign Affairs Council in its trade configuration).

- WTO reform: the ministers will discuss reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) and preparations for the WTO's 12th ministerial conference, which will be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020. The minister will underscore the need for an ambitious reform of the WTO that preserves the multilateral trading system and the essential nature of the work under way at the WTO to swiftly resume nominations to the Appellate Body. He will reaffirm France's support for the European Commission's efforts in this area.

- Trade relations with the United States: the ministers will review trade relations between the EU and the U.S. and will reaffirm the importance of European unity in this area, as well as that of a constructive, rigorous approach toward the United States.

- EU trade agreements: a policy debate will take place based on the European Commission's third annual report on the implementation of trade agreements. The minister will reaffirm our desire to re-orient trade policy toward better follow-up and effective compliance with these trade agreements. With respect to discussions on current negotiations, he will emphasize our deep commitment to better coordination between the EU's trade agenda and our shared sustainable development goals.

- Relations with China: the minister will reiterate the importance of a coordinated, rigorous EU approach toward this partner, based in particular on the principle of reciprocity, which must prevail in current negotiations on a comprehensive investment agreement and ahead of the important meetings that will take place in 2020.



Canada / Quebec – Meeting between Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx (November 20, 2019)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will meet this afternoon with Quebec Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx during her visit to France.

They will examine challenges to France-Quebec tourism in light of the large flow of visitors in both directions. They will discuss strategies to support tourism and promote the appeal of destinations in France and Quebec, which are committed to maintaining their strong historical, cultural and economic ties.

They will also address more broadly the growth of tourism on a global scale, necessitating the development of sustainable, responsible tourism policies.



Belarus – Parliamentary elections (November 17, 2019)

We have taken note of the result of the parliamentary elections in Belarus on November 17 and the absence of independent or opposition candidates in the new House of Representatives in Minsk.

As we regularly stress in our bilateral political dialogue, an improvement in the areas of human rights and democratic liberties in Belarus will be crucial to expanding our bilateral relations and deepening relations between Belarus and the EU.



Iran

According to several sources, more than 100 people have reportedly been killed following the demonstrations in Iran; dozens of people have reportedly been arrested and the Internet remains shut down. What is your reaction following this strong response by the Iranian security forces?

France is following the demonstrations taking place in Iran with concern. It expresses its deep concern at reports that a large number of demonstrators have been killed in the last few days.

It reaffirms its attachment to respect for the freedom of expression and to access to means of communication, as well as to the right to demonstrate peacefully.

France calls on Iran to comply with its international human rights obligations, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.



Syria – Israel

Do you think that the Israeli strikes during the night against Iranian and Syrian military targets in Syria are legitimate?

We have taken note of reports that airstrikes were carried out last night in Syria in response to the rockets launched from Syrian territory the day before.

France reaffirms its unfailing attachment to Israel's security.

It reaffirms that there can be no military solution to the Syrian crisis and underscores the need to avoid a dangerous escalation of tensions in the Middle East. It calls on Iran to refrain from any destabilizing activity in Syria.

These events underscore the urgent need to negotiate a political solution to the Syrian crisis.



Hong Kong

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced yesterday that he will discuss the situation in Hong Kong with his German and French counterparts on Wednesday. What are you expecting from these discussions given the deteriorating situation in Hong Kong?

We are in contact with our close European partners about this matter; please refer to the statement made on behalf of the European Union by the high representative on November 18.


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