The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 26, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Greece – Meeting between Amélie de Montchalin and Greece's deputy minister responsible for European affairs (Paris - February 26, 2020)

◢  Syria

◢  Iran

◢  Cameroon

◢  Situation of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal

Greece – Meeting between Amélie de Montchalin and Greece's deputy minister responsible for European affairs (Paris - February 26, 2020)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greece's Deputy Minister responsible for European Affairs, on February 26.

This meeting built on the meeting between President Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Paris on January 29 and the frequent discussions between the minister and his counterpart, Nikos Dendias. It was aimed at strengthening the European dimension of the rapprochement between France and Greece decided upon during these meetings.

Amélie de Montchalin and Miltiadis Varvitsiotis took stock of major current European issues, following on from the European Council on February 20 and the General Affairs Council on February 25. They notably discussed the status of negotiations on the European budget, the rule of law, the conference on the future of Europe and Mediterranean issues, regarding which France and Greece have a strong convergence of views.

They also discussed EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, while France and Greece support the reform of the accession process proposed by the Commission in order to make it more credible, rigorous and reversible. Migration issues were discussed: Our two countries have committed to a European solution based on solidarity and responsibility and France has strengthened its bilateral support for Greece given the migration emergency facing the country.

The two ministers also discussed bilateral relations between France and Greece and the follow-up to the meeting between President Macron and the Greek prime minister, which set out clear strategic and security perspectives with respect to the regional crises, notably in Libya and in the eastern Mediterranean, as well the economic partnership.


France has repeated on several occasions that humanitarian aid in Syria would remain a priority in 2020. Can you clarify what France has proposed and what it intends to do in concrete terms with respect to humanitarian aid in the Idlib region?

As the minister for Europe and foreign affairs and his European counterparts reaffirmed in an opinion piece published today in the newspaper Le Monde, Syria is facing a new humanitarian disaster, one of the worst in a Syrian crisis that has brought about countless disasters.

In this context, we must guarantee safe and unrestricted humanitarian access to all those in need through continued cross-border assistance. We call on Russia not to thwart, over the next few months, the UN Security Council's renewal of the mechanism to deliver to northwestern Syria the cross-border humanitarian assistance that is vital to the region.

In 2019, France significantly stepped up its humanitarian assistance for northwestern Syria, allocating €18.8 million for that region. In particular, it unblocked an emergency €5.27 million at the end of the year for the civilian population via the UN's Syria Cross-border Humanitarian Fund. France will continue to mobilize its efforts in 2020 on behalf of Syria's civilian population. In light of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in northwestern Syria, it has asked the European Commission to convene an emergency meeting of European donors.

As all the European ministers who signed the article stated, the Syrian regime and its backers, especially the Russians, must immediately end the hostilities.


Do you think that since the E3 triggered the dispute resolution mechanism included in the nuclear agreement in early January, Iran has shown itself willing to play a constructive role in the negotiating process and to reverse its violations of the agreement?

Our goal remains the preservation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) and to get Iran, through negotiations, to come back into compliance with this agreement. That is the purpose of the joint commission in which France is represented in Vienna today.


Following the President's remarks this weekend, in which he stated that there were intolerable human rights violations in Cameroon, what role does France plan to play to try and ease tensions, given that the situation is not improving?

I invite you to read the President's exact remarks.

I also want to remind you of my statement of February 18 on the violence in Cameroon's Northwest Region, which caused the death of a large number of civilians, including children. We have asked for a full investigation and for the perpetrators to be held accountable for their actions.

Situation of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal

Did the Iranian authorities inform France of Fariba Adelkhah's hospitalization, and what information do you have on her health and that of Roland Marchal?

We are following the situation of our two compatriots with the utmost attention and are concerned by the state of their health, especially that of Fariba Adelkhah.

We continue to mobilize all our efforts to get the Iranian authorities to grant consular access, thus far refused for Ms. Adelkhah, on a regular basis and in line with Iran's international commitments.

The French authorities will continue to act with determination to obtain their immediate release.

France in the
United States
Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
f t YouTube Flickr Instagram