The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 24, 2020
In this issue:

◢  United Arab Emirates – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (January 23, 2020)

◢  Netherlands – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to The Hague and Kinderdijk (January 27-28, 2020)

◢  Situation of Alexander Vinnik

◢  Situation of Roland Marchal

◢  Myanmar

United Arab Emirates – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (January 23, 2020)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian received his UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs and his counterpart exchanged views on the regional crises. With respect to Iran and the situation in the Gulf, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart reaffirmed their joint determination to work toward a de-escalation and to continue the fight against Daesh. With respect to Libya, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart underscored the need to swiftly implement the priorities outlined in the conclusions adopted in Berlin on January 19, notably the launch of an inter-Libyan dialogue involving all of Libya's neighbors and regional partners.

This meeting also provided an opportunity to take stock of the special partnership between France and the UAE, and to examine several initiatives aimed at strengthening it, notably in the cultural and academic spheres. With respect to academic cooperation, the two ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to making Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi a regional center of excellence and welcomed the creation of the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence, due to be inaugurated on January 26, 2020.

Netherlands – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian to The Hague and Kinderdijk (January 27-28, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit the Netherlands from January 27 to 28.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will be this year's guest of honor at the Dutch Ambassadors' Conference, which he will open. During the conference, the minister will underscore Europe's role in international crisis management and the need to develop real European sovereignty in every respect, notably in the digital sphere.

He will also meet with his counterpart, Stef Blok, and with Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Their discussions will focus on the major current international issues and the continuation of our cooperation in the areas of crisis management, de-escalation and stabilization, notably in the Sahel and the Levant. The ministers will discuss European issues: Brexit, EU enlargement, and industrial policy in particular.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will visit the Royal IHC industrial site, alongside its CEO, Dave Vender Heyde, in the context of a strategic alliance between the French company Naval Group and its Dutch partner focused on maritime defense systems.

Situation of Alexander Vinnik

The Russian Alexander Vinnik, suspected of money laundering, was extradited to France. When will he be sent back to Russia, per its request?

As this is a current legal proceeding, we refer you to the Ministry of Justice.

Situation of Roland Marchal

Do you have any information on Roland Marchal's health status, described as alarming by his support committee? When did the last consular visit take place, when is the next one scheduled for, and has this consular access been limited in recent weeks?

As President Macron and the minister have said, his detention is arbitrary and unacceptable.

French officials remain fully mobilized to obtain the swift release of our nationals being held in Iran, including Mr. Marchal.

We are following Mr. Marchal's situation with the utmost attention, staying in close touch with his loved ones, and remain concerned by the impact of his extended detention on his health. We continue to expect the Iranian authorities to provide regular consular access in keeping with Iran’s international commitments.


What's your reaction to the provisional measures decided on by the International Court of Justice to protect the Rohingya in Myanmar?

Like the European External Action Service, we take note of the order handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the case relating to the alleged violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by Myanmar, and the provisional measures it has decided on to safeguard the rights of the Rohingya population in Myanmar pending a decision on the merits of the case.

It is the responsibility of the Myanmar authorities to implement these protective measures ordered by the ICJ. Myanmar must also ensure that the crimes committed against the Rohingya population by the army and security forces do not go unpunished. And finally, it must guarantee unfettered access to humanitarian aid and create the conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Myanmar. This country must deal with the deep causes of the crisis in Rakhine State.

France will continue to closely monitor the proceedings before the ICJ and, together with its partners, will support Myanmar's democratic transition and the efforts of the civilian government to move forward on the rule of law and respect for human rights.

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United States
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