The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - April 1, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Situation of Sophie Pétronin

◢  Algeria

◢  Libya – Operation Irini

◢  COVID-19 – China

Situation of Sophie Pétronin

Can you confirm that you have in your possession proof-of-life for Sophie Pétronin as of early March? Do you have any details about her state of health?

Can you confirm that the French government has recent proof-of-life for Sophie Pétronin, the French hostage in the Sahel? Was her son, Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin, received at the Quai d'Orsay last week? What is the status of efforts and discussions to secure her release?

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and all departments concerned remain fully mobilized in order to secure Sophie Pétronin's release and to support her family.


The ambassador of France to Algeria was summoned on Tuesday by the minister of foreign affairs in protest against an interview broadcast on France 24. Can you tell us how the ambassador responded to the accusations by the Algerian authorities?

The ambassador reaffirmed that all media outlets have complete editorial independence in France, protected by law.

Libya – Operation Irini

Josep Borrell indicated that a new EU military operation had been launched off the coast of Libya. What are you expecting from this operation?

France welcomes the launch yesterday of the EU military mission, Operation Irini, which will allow it to contribute, through the use of naval, air and satellite assets, to implementing the UN arms embargo. This operation reflects the Europeans' resolute commitment to working together to defend the political and security interests at stake in the context of the Libyan crisis.

Through this operation, the EU is striving to enforce compliance with the arms embargo as well as calls to refrain from interference in the Libyan conflict, at a time when both violations and an influx of foreign mercenaries are ongoing. The Covid-19 pandemic makes efforts to achieve a ceasefire following the Berlin conference of January 19 even more urgent.

France intends to actively contribute to this new operation, which should help bring about a de-escalation. It calls on representatives of the two Libyan parties to commit to the ceasefire agreement proposed on February 23 during UN-sponsored talks in Geneva and to the resumption of the political dialogue, with the support of Libya's neighbors and the African Union.

COVID-19 – China

Do you believe China is using the assistance that it's providing to other countries dealing with the Covid-19 crisis as a way of bolstering its own interests?

Covid-19 is a pandemic that affects all continents and all societies. Obviously, effectively combating Covid-19 and managing its repercussions on our economies requires the greatest international cooperation.

That is why France has been striving, since the beginning of the crisis, to promote solidarity and coordination by the international community. It is doing so within multilateral institutions, with its major partners and of course, with all of its EU partners.

International support is always welcome and must be encouraged. Just as France offered its total solidarity to China at the beginning of this crisis, France is now receiving China's solidarity in return.

France also benefits from the solidarity of its German, Luxembourg and Swiss neighbors, who have taken more than 100 intensive-care patients from the Grand Est region into their hospitals.

International cooperation and solidarity are in everyone's interest.

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