The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - June 8, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Democratic Republic of Congo – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (June 8 and 9, 2020)

◢  Meeting of EU foreign ministers in charge of development (via videoconference - June 8, 2020)

◢  Iran – IAEA

Democratic Republic of Congo – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian (June 8 and 9, 2020)

On June 8 and 9, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will be visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defense, Philippe Goffin.

This joint visit is in conjunction with the establishment of a humanitarian airlift between the EU and several African countries to support continued operations by humanitarian organizations and their participation in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.

In Kinshasa, their visit includes a meeting with President Tshisekedi; participation in a meeting of the ministerial committee in charge of the Covid-19 response, chaired by the Prime Minister; a visit to the National Institute of Biomedical Research; and meetings with humanitarian and civil society actors. Minister Le Drian's visit to a patient reception project set up by the French Red Cross with funding from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs illustrates France's support for the fight against epidemics in DRC and more generally, the implementation of President Macron's initiative to support Africa in its response to Covid-19.

In Goma, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Janez Lenarčič will welcome three incoming flights that are part of the European humanitarian airlift to DRC; they will be transporting a total of 40 tons of humanitarian cargo and nearly 100 NGO staffers.

Meeting of EU foreign ministers in charge of development (via videoconference - June 8, 2020)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in today's informal meeting of EU development ministers.

This meeting followed on the development ministers' meeting of April 9 and dealt mainly with the global response to the Covid-19 crisis outside of the EU. France reiterated its backing for the funding effort by the EU and its member states (the "Team Europe" package) in support of the most vulnerable countries, which now equals nearly €36 billion, stressing in particular the increased aid to the African continent.

France and the EU expressed their deep commitment to multilateralism on this occasion, especially in the area of health, in the presence of World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was invited to take part in this discussion. The EU reaffirmed its strong commitment to managing the pandemic, in the aftermath of the donors conference held on May 4 which strengthened support for the Access to Covid-19 Tools-Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative spearheaded by President Macron on April 24 under the auspice of the WHO.

The discussions also focused on the ongoing negotiations led by the European Commission aimed at concluding an agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). France supports the efforts of the European Commission to conclude, as swiftly as possible, an ambitious agreement between the EU and the ACP countries. Through the next agreement, we would like to strengthen our cooperation on education, youth employment, mobility, the fight against climate change and new technologies. The agreement should notably take into consideration the commitments made within the framework of the Paris climate agreement reached in 2015. We also want this agreement to strengthen the partnership between the EU and the ACP countries and to establish a common foundation for democratic values, the rule of law and governance. The ministers also discussed the future architecture of the EU's financial instruments for development and neighborhood policy.

Iran – IAEA

According to the IAEA's most recent report, Iran is continuing to increase its stocks of enriched uranium and is refusing to allow inspectors to access sites presumed to have been used for suspicious activities in the past. How do you intend to convince Iran to resume compliance with its commitments given that the E3's efforts since the beginning of the year, including the activation of the JCPOA's dispute resolution mechanism, have not produced any tangible results?

We have taken note of the IAEA's most recent quarterly report on the implementation of the JCPOA, which confirmed Iran's continued violation of its nuclear agreements under the JCPOA.

We remain fully committed to the JCPOA which is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and is the only way to provide guarantees with respect to ensuring that Iran's nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful. For this reason, we activated, together with our E3 partners, the JCPOA dispute resolution mechanism on January 14 in order to provide a forum for dialogue, within the strict framework of the agreement, aimed at finding a solution to preserve it. This dialogue is being intensively pursued between the parties to the JCPOA, as well as bilaterally between the E3, Russia and China, and with Iran, in order to ensure that Iran returns to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.

The IAEA also published a special report regarding Iran's lack of cooperation with respect to its transparency and verification obligations. We are concerned by the difficulties reported by the IAEA with respect to the ability to conduct its inspections. In conjunction with our partners, we call on Iran to fully and immediately cooperate with the IAEA and reaffirm our support for the professional and impartial work carried out by the IAEA.

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