The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 16, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to Saudi Arabia (January 16-17, 2019)

◢  Iran – Nuclear issue

◢  Libya

Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to Saudi Arabia (January 16-17, 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Saudi Arabia from January 16 to 17.

He will notably meet with his counterparts, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah al-Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will talk to his interlocutors about all regional issues of common interest:

  • in a context of strong regional tensions, he will reaffirm France's willingness to focus every effort on facilitating a de-escalation in order to preserve the stability and security of the region as a whole;
  • he will underscore the need to continue the fight against terrorism within the framework of the Global Coalition against Daesh;
  • he will also reaffirm France's support for the ongoing discussions between the different parties to the conflict in Yemen.

These meetings will provide an opportunity to take stock of the strengthening of bilateral relations between France and Saudi Arabia, notably in the economic and cultural spheres. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will visit the site of Al-Ula, a symbol of the cooperation between France and Saudi Arabia in the area of heritage.

In the context of the Saudi presidency of the G20 and in advance of the G20 finance ministers' meeting on February 22 and 23, Jean-Yves Le Drian will reaffirm France's priorities: reform of the international trade system, the fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity, reform of the international tax system and the strengthening of gender equality.

Lastly, he will meet with the French community in Riyadh.

Iran – Nuclear issue

Is it true that the Trump administration threatened to impose a 25% tax on imports of European cars if France, the United Kingdom and Germany did not formally accuse Iran of violating the 2015 nuclear deal? What is the response by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to this report in the Washington Post?

Please refer to the statement issued by the heads of state and government of France, the UK and Germany on Sunday, January 12, in which they reaffirmed their attachment to the JCPoA and to its preservation.

We are committed to this agreement and remain strictly within its framework. With this in mind—and the minister reaffirmed this again yesterday at the National Assembly—we have decided to use all provisions of the JCPoA, including the dispute resolution mechanism, not in order to withdraw from the agreement, but to establish a forum for political dialogue with Iran within the agreement.

During our recent exchanges, the U.S. administration took note of this position and indicated that it respected it.

Please also refer to the joint communiqué issued by the ministers of the E3 (France, Germany, United Kingdom) and the EU high representative on November 11, 2019, in which they affirmed "their readiness to consider all mechanisms in the JCPoA, including the dispute resolution mechanism, to resolve the issues related to Iran's implementation of its JCPoA commitments."

Can you confirm the date on which the dispute resolution mechanism in the Iran nuclear deal will be triggered?

It is up to the EU high representative, in his capacity as coordinator of the JCPoA Joint Commission, to set out the details and timing of the process.


Will the MoU signed by Libya and Turkey on maritime areas be discussed at the Berlin summit on Libya scheduled for this Sunday?

The goal of the international conference on the security and political situation in Libya, to be held on January 19 in Berlin, will be to solidify the international consensus needed for a lasting end to the crisis in Libya, and to end the foreign influences fueling the escalation of this conflict.

France fully supports this initiative, in order for the truce announced on January 12 to lead to a lasting cessation of hostilities, and for a genuine political process under the auspices of the UN and a dialogue between the Libyan parties, with assistance from the African Union, to get under way.

With respect to the memorandum of understanding between Turkey and the Libyan government on demarcating maritime boundaries, Jean-Yves Le Drian has reiterated that this is a subject of major concern. The European Council expressed itself very clearly on this subject at the European Council of December 12 and 13. This agreement directly undermines the interests and sovereign rights of EU member states, in particular Cyprus and Greece, and is not in compliance with the Law of the Sea. I also refer you to the communique issued following the meeting of foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus, and Greece on January 8.

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