The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - September 18, 2020
In this issue:

◢  Iraq – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Fuad Hussein, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 18, 2020)

◢  European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - September 21, 2020)

◢  Cyprus / Greece – Visit by Clément Beaune (September 18-19, 2020)

◢  Hezbollah

◢  Lebanon

Iraq – Meeting between Jean-Yves Le Drian and Fuad Hussein, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 18, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, today.

He underscored France's determination to continue the fight against Daesh alongside its Iraqi partners, within the framework of the Coalition and while respecting Iraq's sovereignty. Jean-Yves Le Drian also stressed France's determination to strengthen cooperation in all areas - political, security, economic, humanitarian, educational, and cultural - with Iraq, which could become a strategic partner of France in the region. He reaffirmed, as President Macron also did so in Baghdad on September 2, that France stands alongside the Iraqi government in its efforts to carry out its reform agenda.

The minister for Europe and foreign affairs reaffirmed France's attachment to Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its support for the Iraqi authorities in their determination to distance their country from regional tensions and to affirm its role of providing balance in the Middle East.

European Union – Jean-Yves Le Drian's participation in the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels - September 21, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the EU Foreign Affairs Council on September 21 in Brussels. He will also meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

This Council, which prepares for the European Council from September 24 to 26, will provide an opportunity to address the following issues:

  • Eastern Mediterranean: The ministers will again underscore their solidarity with Greece and Cyprus in the face of Turkey's actions in this area and will reaffirm the importance of using all levers available to the EU, including sanctions, in order to obtain the clarifications needed from Turkey to engage in a constructive dialogue.
  • Libya: The ministers will reaffirm their determination to promote a political solution under UN auspices and their collective determination to secure a lasting cessation of hostilities and to ensure compliance with the arms embargo, notably through concrete actions by Operation Irini. The Council will adopt new sanctions in order to help achieve these goals.
  • Belarus: The ministers will reaffirm their solidarity with the Belarusian people and reaffirm their determination to punish the abuses observed in terms of the crackdown and election fraud. France will again express its support for the establishment of an inclusive national political dialogue and will reaffirm its support for the mediation efforts proposed by the OSCE chairmanship. On the sidelines of this Council, the ministers will meet with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
  • Lebanon: In follow-up to President Macron's visit to Beirut on September 1, the ministers will reaffirm Europe's solidarity with this country and the importance they attach to the swift formation of a new government and the effective implementation of the anticipated reforms.

The ministers will also review relations with Russia, the African Union, China (a few days after the EU-China summit), the European Neighborhood Policy with respect to the southern shore of the Mediterranean, with the goal of launching a true "southern partnership," and finally, the situation in Venezuela.

Following the Foreign Affairs Council, the Minister will meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. They will address challenges to European security. The minister will bring up the issue of the Southern Mediterranean and will reiterate the necessary clarifications we await from Turkey, including within the NATO framework, as well as the work by the focus group on the future of NATO initiated at the behest of France and Germany in November 2019.

Cyprus / Greece – Visit by Clément Beaune (September 18-19, 2020)

Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting Cyprus and Greece to illustrate the importance of the challenges to security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean for France and the EU.

In Nicosia, he will be hosted by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and will meet with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides. He will also meet with Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides in Larnaca for a presentation of the situation in Cyprus's maritime areas.

Mr. Beaune will then travel to Athens, where he will be hosted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and will meet with his counterpart, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs.


According to Nathan Sales, the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Hezbollah has stockpiled caches of weapons and especially ammonium nitrate in several European countries, including France. How do you respond to these allegations?

To our knowledge, there is currently no tangible information that would allow us to confirm such an allegation with respect to France. Any illegal activity committed by a foreign organization on our soil would be met with the harshest possible sanctions by French authorities.


Did France give a new deadline to Lebanese politicians for forming a mission-driven government and what would the consequences be if the current consultations did not swiftly result in such a government?

As Lebanon experiences an unprecedented crisis, France regrets that Lebanese political leaders have not yet managed to live up to the commitments they undertook on September 1, in line with the announced timetable. We urgently call on all Lebanese political factions to assume their responsibilities and agree without delay on the formation of a mission-driven government by Mustapha Adib that is capable of carrying out the reforms that are necessary to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people. As we constantly remind the Lebanese political factions, they must translate their commitments into actions. It is their responsibility. For its part, France stands side-by-side with the Lebanese, as it has always done.

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