The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - March 5, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Qatar – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and his counterpart (March 4, 2020)

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers and the Foreign Affairs Council (Zagreb - March 5-6, 2020)

◢  North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (March 2, 2020)

◢  COVID-19 – Israel

◢  COVID-19 – North Korea

◢  Situation of Fariba Adelkah and Roland Marchal

 
Qatar – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and his counterpart (March 4, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, yesterday.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and his interlocutor signaled their attachment to the partnership between France and Qatar and underscored the need to continue to strengthen it. They notably welcomed the development of our economic exchanges and our cooperation in the cultural sphere in the context of the Qatar-France 2020 Year of Culture.

The ministers discussed the regional crises in the Middle East, regarding which our two countries engage in sustained and regular dialogue. With respect to Libya, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterpart reaffirmed the need for a lasting ceasefire that will be upheld by all parties and for the swift implementation of the priorities outlined in the conclusions adopted in Berlin on January 19, notably the launch of a representative and inclusive inter-Libyan dialogue, involving all of Libya's neighbors and the regional partners. With respect to Syria, they expressed their shared concern regarding the dire humanitarian situation in the northwestern part of the country, as well as the risk of regional escalation. They agreed on the urgent need for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis.



European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers and the Foreign Affairs Council (Zagreb - March 5-6, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Zagreb on March 5 and the extraordinary session of the Foreign Affairs Council the following day.

During the informal meeting on March 5, the ministers will discuss relations between the EU and Russia as well as relations between the EU and Turkey. With respect to Russia, the discussion should initiate a substantive debate on the relationship, with due consideration for the five guiding principles agreed upon in 2016 in order to steer relations between the EU and Russia. With respect to the discussion on Turkey, the minister will stress the need for a firm and demanding dialogue on the different aspects of the relationship between the EU and Turkey, including with respect to the crises in Syria and Libya.

An extraordinary formal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council will take place on March 6 to address the crisis triggered by the offensive by the Syrian regime and its supporters, notably its Russian supporters, in the Idlib region. Jean-Yves Le Drian will re-examine the serious political, humanitarian, migration and security consequences of this crisis. He will reaffirm the importance of European unity in order to work toward a de-escalation in Syria and to address the suffering of the civilian populations by strengthening European humanitarian assistance. The minister will call for the rejection of any exploitation of the migration issue by Turkey while responding to the needs of the refugees in the region.

With respect to the concerns relating to the Coronavirus in EU countries, the ministers will also discuss this issue in order to reaffirm the need to strengthen coordination at the European level regarding the exchange of information, health measures, relations with third countries and public communication. These topics will also be included on the agenda of the extraordinary meeting of the EU Health Council on March 6 in Brussels.



North Korea – Ballistic missile launches (March 2, 2020)

We were concerned to learn of reports of new ballistic missile launches by North Korea on March 2.

France reaffirms its condemnation of these repeated launches, which undermine regional security and stability and violate pertinent UN Security Council resolutions. France calls on North Korea to comply with Security Council resolutions, to engage immediately and in good faith in a process of complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of its WMD and ballistic missile programs, and to refrain from any provocation.



COVID-19 – Israel

Does Israel's decision to no longer authorize French citizens to enter its territory due to fears of the spread of COVID-19 seem proportionate to the epidemiological situation in France? Is this the first time French citizens have been prohibited from entering a foreign territory due to the coronavirus?

As you know, the situation is very fluid and the authorities in each country concerned are taking measures related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our compatriots are advised to consult the Travel Advisory on the France Diplomatie site (https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/), which is regularly updated based on the public health recommendations issued by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health. We recommend that French citizens who are traveling register on the Ariane portal in order to receive alerts.

We urge French residents living outside the country to sign up on the registry of French nationals abroad and to update their contact information (cell phone numbers, email addresses) as necessary with local consulates.



COVID-19 – North Korea

Will representatives of the French Cooperation Office in North Korea be evacuated due to the risks linked to COVID-19, and if so, to which country?

Since late January, North Korea has taken drastic quarantine measures targeting foreign delegations and seriously hindering the operations of the French Cooperation Office in Pyongyang. In these circumstances, and in conjunction with our European partners, it was decided to temporarily close the French Cooperation Office until these measures are eased.

France continues to closely monitor the situation on the ground, and strongly advises French nationals not to travel to North Korea.



Situation of Fariba Adelkah and Roland Marchal

Information concerning the health of two French researchers detained in Iran is increasingly alarming. Both of them are cut off from the world and do not have access to the care they need, according to their support committee. Do you still have access to Roland Marshal, and what is their health status, according to your information?

We are following the situation of our two compatriots with the utmost attention and are concerned by the state of their health.

We are working relentlessly to obtain regular consular access, in line with Iran's international commitments, and to secure their immediate release.


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