The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 12, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Lebanon – Approval of the ministerial statement by the new government (February 11, 2020)

◢  Mali

◢  Situation of Yoann Barbereau

Lebanon – Approval of the ministerial statement by the new government (February 11, 2020)

The Lebanese Parliament approved the ministerial statement by the new Lebanese government yesterday. It is now up to this government to act swiftly to meet the economic, social and political expectations that have been expressed by the Lebanese people over the past several months.

Like all of its partners in the International Support Group (ISG), which met this past December in Paris, France expects deep, ambitious reforms by the Lebanese authorities, especially in the areas of economic transparency, economic and financial sustainability, the fight against corruption, and the independence of the judiciary. They must be carried out in a spirit of responsibility and in the general interest of all Lebanese.

France stands side by side with the Lebanese people, as it has always done. It reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, stability and security of Lebanon, which must be disassociated from regional crises and tensions.


For the first time, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has acknowledged the existence of contacts with jihadist groups. What is your reaction? Do you also believe that fighting these groups while at the same time engaging in a dialogue with them is not incompatible, and that such a dialogue could in the long term help end the crisis?

The President of Mali has taken certain initiatives in line with the recommendations of the Inclusive National Dialogue.

We are fighting armed terrorist groups in the Sahel at the request of nations in the region, and specifically Mali. This request, and the "shared determination to fight together against terrorist groups," were renewed at the Pau Summit on January 13.

This collective action in the Sahel is also multidimensional, focusing beyond security on stabilization, development and reconciliation, and taking into account the needs of communities, in order to dry up the sources of recruitment for armed terrorist groups.

Situation of Yoann Barbereau

Yoann Barbereau, the former director of the Alliance Française in Irkutsk, is once again criticizing the "incompetence" of diplomats at the Quai d'Orsay, especially the French ambassador to Moscow at the time, Jean-Maurice Ripert, and demanding government compensation for his detention in Russia on the grounds of "functional protection." What is your response to that?

I would like to remind you of the statements we issued regarding this news item on November 9 and 10, 2017, setting out all of the protection measures undertaken on behalf of Yoann Barbereau, who had been arrested and charged in Russia: "Mr. Barbereau benefited from consular protection as soon as he was charged. Once he had absconded from the Russian authorities and presented himself at the Embassy of France in Moscow in order to seek refuge there, this ministry took all necessary measures to help him and ensure his safety. In close cooperation with his family and friends, Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador of France to Russia from 2013 to 2017, personally ensured that all his needs were met. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs thanks him once again for his commitment and for the quality of the services provided. The protection of French nationals abroad is a core mission of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. We pay tribute to the dedication and expertise of the officials responsible for consular matters in France and abroad."

Beyond this reminder, since the case is currently being heard in court, we are unable to provide any further comment.

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