The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - February 28, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Mali – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Malian counterpart (Paris - February 28, 2020)

◢  Lebanon – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Lebanese counterpart (Paris - February 28, 2020)

◢  United Kingdom – Visit by Amélie de Montchalin (London - February 28, 2020)

◢  Israel / Palestinian territories – SettlementsĀ (February 28, 2020)

◢  Tunisia – Formation of the government (February 27, 2020)

Mali – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Malian counterpart (Paris - February 28, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Tiébilé Dramé, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali, today.

This visit took place a few days after the unacceptable remarks made by the ambassador of Mali to France regarding French army units. We deplored these remarks made by the ambassador of an allied country, where our armies are deployed at the request of the Malian authorities, alongside our partners, in order to combat terrorism. We have taken note of the decision by the Malian authorities to recall Ambassador Toumani Djimé Diallo.

The visit by Tiébilé Dramé, who is meeting with the French authorities - government officials as well as national representatives -, reflects our countries' shared determination, within the framework of the new momentum created by the summit in Pau, to continue our close cooperation in support of the Sahel, its inhabitants and common security issues.

Lebanon – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Lebanese counterpart (Paris - February 28, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Nassif Hitti, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Republic of Lebanon, today.

The minister reaffirmed the strong ties of friendship between France and Lebanon and France's commitment to the Lebanese people in the context of the challenging circumstances facing the country.

During this initial meeting, he reaffirmed that, three months after the holding of the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG), the Lebanese authorities needed to take action to address the challenges facing Lebanon, with the common interest of the Lebanese people as their sole concern.

He underscored the urgent need to take a range of economic, social and political measures to respond to the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people since October 17. Jean-Yves Le Drian underlined that it was up to the Lebanese authorities to implement a credible plan to allow the country to resolve the crisis. This is the basis on which France stands ready, together with its partners, to support Lebanon.

The minister reiterated France's commitment to maintaining Lebanon's disassociation from regional crises, a prerequisite for ensuring the stability of the country and the region. He reaffirmed that France, today and in all circumstances, stands alongside the Lebanese people.

United Kingdom – Visit by Amélie de Montchalin (London - February 28, 2020)

Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting London today.

The minister of state will deliver a speech at Chatham House, an international affairs think tank, on the future of the partnership between the EU and the United Kingdom and the bilateral strategic partnership that we would like to further deepen in the area of security and defense, ten years after the signing of the Lancaster House Treaty. Amélie de Montchalin will reaffirm the EU's desire to reach an ambitious, balanced and long-term agreement within the framework of the negotiating mandate on future relations, adopted by the EU on February 25.

Amélie de Montchalin will then meet with representatives of the French and British business community, notably including Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), as well members of the French Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom and foreign trade advisors. These meetings will provide an opportunity, following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU, to exchange views on issues relating to France-United Kingdom trade relations.

Israel / Palestinian territories – Settlements (February 28, 2020)

France condemns the announcements by Israeli authorities regarding the construction of 3,401 housing units in the E1 zone, in East Jerusalem. This area is of strategic importance to the two-state solution and the territorial continuity of a future Palestinian state. Its expansion directly undermines the viability of a future Palestinian state, as the European Union has reiterated on several occasions.

France urges the Israeli authorities to reconsider these decisions and to refrain from any unilateral measures. All forms of settlement activity are illegal under international law and challenge the two-state solution on the ground.

France, together with several other European countries, expressed its deep concern to the Israeli authorities with regard to these announcements, like those of February 20 concerning the settlements of Har Homa and Givat Hamatos in East Jerusalem.

France reaffirms that the two-state solution, with both states living in peace and security within secure, recognized borders and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region. It stands ready to support any effort in this direction based on agreed international parameters and coming about through negotiations between the parties.

Tunisia – Formation of the government (February 27, 2020)

France offers its congratulations to Elyes Fakhfakh and his government and its best wishes for their success, following yesterday's vote of confidence.

The French authorities intend to pursue and strengthen our close dialogue with the new government, given the multilayered partnership that exists between our two countries and the important bilateral and multilateral milestones scheduled for 2020. Among other things, Tunisia will host the 18th Francophonie summit.

We want to applaud the commitment of the outgoing government led by Youssef Chahed to strengthening our bilateral partnership.

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