The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - August 19, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Mali

◢  Lebanon – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (August 20-21, 2020)

◢  Lebanon – Verdict of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the assassination of Rafiq Hariri (August 18, 2020)

◢  World Humanitarian Day (August 19, 2020)


What is France's position in the face of the Malian president's resignation and the takeover by the military, which is promising elections "within a reasonable time"? What are the consequences for France's military engagement in Mali?

Is France in direct contact with those involved in the coup in Mali? Does it intend to take any special measures for its French nationals in Mali?

Please refer to the statement issued by the minister today.

Lebanon – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (August 20-21, 2020)

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State responsible for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit Lebanon on August 20 and 21 to signal his support for the French community and for the agencies deploying French assistance in Lebanon.

In Beirut, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will meet with members of the French community impacted by the explosion on August 4 and will chair a working meeting with the elected representatives of French nationals abroad and the consular services. He will visit French schools that were damaged, together with representatives of the education community.

The minister of state will also meet with the Ventoux task force at the site of clearance operations involving French troops in the port area. He will also visit the distribution site for French aid and will meet with Lebanese NGOs partnering with France to deliver this aid.

This visit by the minister of state follows on from the visit made by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 23 and 24, the visit made by President Macron and the minister for Europe and foreign affairs on August 6, immediately after the explosion and the visit by the minister for the armed forces from August 13 to 14.

Lebanon – Verdict of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the assassination of Rafiq Hariri (August 18, 2020)

France pays tribute to the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), an independent and impartial tribunal, which delivered its verdict yesterday in the case relating to the assassination of Rafiq Hariri. This decision is a major milestone in the fight against impunity for terrorist acts. It was highly anticipated by the victims' families, as well as by the international community.

France is committed to the fight against impunity everywhere. Since its creation through UNSCR 1757, France has supported the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at the budgetary and technical levels and will continue to do so.

The verdict delivered yesterday by the STL must be fully applied. The work of the STL relating to the assassination of George Haoui and the attempted assassinations of Marwan Hamadé, as well as Elias Murr, must also continue.

France takes this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and the 22 other persons killed in the attack on February 14, 2005, who embodied the fight for their country's sovereignty. Our action in Lebanon reflects this same spirit. France is attached to Lebanon's recovery, on the basis of ambitious reforms, including with respect to the rule of law, justice and the fight against impunity. These are the aspirations vigorously expressed by the Lebanese people.

World Humanitarian Day (August 19, 2020)

On this World Humanitarian Day, France reaffirms its resolute commitment in support of humanitarian action. In the face of the current crises, France has made humanitarian action a pillar of its foreign policy and, at the request of President Macron, has increased its financial effort within the framework of its 2018-2022 strategy by tripling the overall amount of its humanitarian assistance from €150 million to €500 million by 2022.

This year, France pays special tribute to all humanitarian and health personnel working in the most dangerous areas around the world to alleviate the suffering of the victims of armed conflict and natural disasters and to help millions of people in emergency situations. In a more challenging context for humanitarian workers as a result of an increase in armed conflicts and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, France salutes their courage and devotion.

France reaffirms in the strongest terms its condemnation of the recent attacks perpetrated against humanitarian and health workers, including the deadly attack which killed six of our compatriots and their two companions on August 9 in Niger, as well as the murder of Benoît Maria, the head of an NGO in Guatemala on August 11, 2020.

Humanitarian action is based on respect for humanitarian principles - humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. No humanitarian actor should pay the ultimate price for choosing to dedicate their life to others.

That is why France is determined to ensure respect for the imperative to protect humanitarian and health personnel. It will continue to work tirelessly to ensure the effective implementation of international humanitarian law, in order to ensure safe and unrestricted humanitarian access and to allow humanitarian workers to carry out their work safely. In this context, the French authorities intend to examine ways to strengthen the protection of humanitarian personnel and mobilize the international community to that end, notably within the United Nations. It was with this in mind that Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, tabled the political declaration of October 31, 2017, on the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel and that he launched, in September 2019, together with his German counterpart, the Call for Humanitarian Action within the framework of the Alliance for Multilateralism.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of this call for action, Jean-Yves le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, introduced, in February, an initiative to train state actors and certain non-state actors in international humanitarian law, as well as a national plan to promote training in international humanitarian law. The minister for Europe and foreign affairs will continue and expand dialogue on this key issue with humanitarian stakeholders, within the framework of the forthcoming National Humanitarian Conference.

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