The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs

Paris - January 18, 2022
In this issue:

◢  North Korea – France condemns the short-range missile launches carried out on January 14 and 17 (January 18, 2022)

◢  Global health – A year after its establishment, COVAX has delivered a billion Covid vaccine doses worldwide (January 18, 2022)

◢  Mali

◢  ICAO Report on Ryanair flight FR4978

North Korea – France condemns the short-range missile launches carried out on January 14 and 17 (January 18, 2022)

North Korea carried out two short-range ballistic missile launches on January 14 and 17.

France condemns these launches and expresses its deep concern over the recent increase in missile tests, which jeopardize international peace and security and violate UN Security Council resolutions.

We reiterate our previous calls for a swift resumption of negotiations aimed at moving forward with the complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs and their delivery systems.

Global health – A year after its establishment, COVAX has delivered a billion Covid vaccine doses worldwide (January 18, 2022)

The COVAX Facility announced that it has delivered a billion Covid vaccine doses worldwide. France, which is actively committed to making the vaccine a global public good, applauds this success, which is benefiting the regions and countries where Covid-19 vaccination rates remain the lowest.

Established in 2020 under the auspices of the World Health Organization's Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), COVAX represents an unprecedented multilateral response to an extraordinary health crisis. It aims for all countries, regardless of their income level, to succeed in developing and producing safe Covid-19 vaccines and enjoy fair access to them.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, France has been promoting fair, universal access to vaccines and is strongly committed to accelerating vaccination worldwide. Its donations to the COVAX facility came to €200 million in 2020-2021. The EU is in fact the largest contributor to COVAX, having allocated €3 billion to the mechanism.

Like its European partners, France has actively contributed to COVAX's results by donating vaccines. It was the first country to ship out doses via COVAX, in April 2021, and has already donated 75 million doses. Nearly 50 million of those have been delivered to date, most via COVAX. France has pledged to continue this effort and to donate 120 million doses by summer 2022. The EU has pledged to donate 700 million doses, 380 million of which have already been allocated.

These encouraging results spur us to collectively continue our effort to accelerate and support vaccination campaigns worldwide and to move from vaccines to vaccination, but also to strengthen vaccine production capacities in low- and middle-income countries. Together with its European partners, France is working actively to create facilities to manufacture mRNA vaccines in South Africa and Senegal.

Vaccine equity is one of the matters France will pursue during its presidency of the Council of the European Union.


Would you please confirm whether or not Mali requested that France review the bilateral defense agreements? What is this in regard to?

We received a request that we are currently examining.

ICAO Report on Ryanair flight FR4978

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sent all of its 193 Member States a report on its investigation into the Ryanair flight incident that took place last spring. On the basis of this report, will France be taking any additional, independent measures against Belarus?

On May 23, 2021, Ryanair flight FR4978 from Athens to Vilnius was diverted to Minsk after receiving a supposed bomb threat. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) decided to carry out an investigation into these events and subsequently released a report on January 17.

The report reveals all of the inconsistencies in the Belarusian account of what took place. The report finds that the Belarusian regime orchestrated the hijacking of the civilian plane for the sole purpose of arresting the opposition journalist Roman Protasevitch. This constitutes a flagrant violation of both the letter and the spirit of international air law, as well as a threat to the security and safety of international civil aviation.

In response to this grave, irresponsible offense, France and its European Union partners have already taken the necessary measures. We have prohibited access to European airspace and airports for Belarusian carriers as of June 4. On June 21, we introduced sanctions against the individuals and entities that took part in the hijacking of the Ryanair plane. Further, a substantial package of sector-specific measures was also adopted on June 24. Lastly, the European Union imposed sanctions on the airline Belavia on December 2.

As Jean-Yves Le Drian indicated when he spoke before the National Assembly yesterday, France and its European Union partners are prepared to bring more pressure to bear on Belarus if warranted by the country's actions.

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