The Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs
Spokesperson


Paris - July 1, 2022
In this issue:

◢  United Kingdom – Meeting between Catherine Colonna and her counterpart (July 1, 2022)

◢  United Nations – France commends the International Criminal Court on its work on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute's entry into force (July 1, 2022)

◢  Lebanon

◢  Hong Kong

 
United Kingdom – Meeting between Catherine Colonna and her counterpart (July 1, 2022)

Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, had a meeting today with her British counterpart, Liz Truss.

Following on from the G7 and NATO summits and the French President's meeting with the United Kingdom Prime Minister on Sunday, June 26, the Minister reaffirmed France's determination to defend Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. She emphasized the importance of coordination between our two countries on the issue. The Minister also welcomed the adoption of NATO's new Strategic Concept, as well as the consensus reached within the Alliance on admitting Finland and Sweden as new members.

Catherine Colonna discussed the consequences of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which is causing food insecurity in many countries.

She spoke to her counterpart about the plan for a European political community endorsed by the European Council on June 23 and 24.

The Minister expressed her concern about the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and her desire for a lasting solution respecting the agreement signed between the European Union and the UK.

Finally, the ministers spoke of the need to continue bilateral work on other international issues such as our cooperation in Africa and the Indo-Pacific region.



United Nations – France commends the International Criminal Court on its work on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute's entry into force (July 1, 2022)

France commends the International Criminal Court (ICC) on its work on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute's entry into force. As the only permanent international criminal court with a universal scope, the ICC plays a key role in the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

During its 20 years of existence, the ICC has, among other achievements, sentenced individuals who have been found guilty of sexual violence, illegal recruitment of child soldiers and destruction of cultural heritage, thereby making it possible to meet the demands for justice made by the victims of these intolerable crimes.

Currently, the ICC is investigating abuses committed in 17 countries, in particular, Ukraine, Darfur and Libya.

France will maintain its unwavering commitment to the ICC, which serves as an essential tool for preventing atrocities and punishing those responsible. We encourage all countries to actively cooperate with the ICC and ratify the Rome Statute.



Lebanon

The Lebanon Crisis: France has lobbied for the signature of an agreement with the IMF but nothing has been finalized yet, despite the complete lack of electricity in the country. The capital city of Beirut has gone without water for two weeks now and Covid-19 is rampant once again! Given that four months remain before the end of President Michel Aoun's term and Ambassador Pierre Duquesne (who is in charge of coordinating international support to Lebanon) is there on the ground, what are the most recent efforts undertaken by France to save this country?

France continues to reaffirm its demands and expectations – which are shared by the Lebanese people and the international community – with the Lebanese authorities.

It is the responsibility of Najib Mikati, the Prime Minister appointed on June 23, to proceed without delay in forming a government that can implement the emergency measures and structural reforms that the country needs in order to recover and that were negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). More than a month has passed since the May 15th legislative elections so the responsibility now lies with all the Lebanese political groups represented in the Parliament. In light of the ongoing deterioration of the living conditions of the Lebanese people, it is up to their representatives to finally and immediately take action for the good of the country.

Moreover, France reiterates its commitment to seeing the presidential election take place in compliance with the schedule set forth in the Lebanese constitution.

France remains deeply committed to the Lebanese people.

The Lebanon Crisis: Gas and oil extraction and exploration in the Mediterranean could cover the costs of the reconstruction and rebuild the Lebanese economy, yet it is taking a long time for them to get started and, despite the United States' mediation efforts, no agreement has been signed by Lebanon and the Jewish state. The latter country is preparing to exploit the oil fields that are the subject of a dispute. Given the threats made by Hezbollah, this risks setting off the region. Could France intervene?

France supports any efforts that could help bolster regional stability. We encourage the different parties to pursue current efforts in order to make progress toward a negotiated settlement that can increase stability and collective prosperity.

Regarding Lebanese public finances, France reiterates that it is the responsibility of Najib Mikati, the Prime Minister appointed on June 23, to proceed without delay in forming a government that can implement the emergency measures and structural reforms that the country needs in order to recover and that were negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).



Hong Kong

Today, Hong Kong is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its return to China, with Xi Jinping in attendance. Today is also the day that John Lee, who is notorious for his involvement in the crackdowns on the 2019 protests, officially takes office as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong. What is the Quai d'Orsay's opinion of Hong Kong's takeover?

We can only lament the fact that the Chinese authorities have not fulfilled their commitments to the Special Administrative Region and the people of Hong Kong 25 years after Hong Kong's return to China. Two years ago, a new national security law was adopted that constituted a breach that called into question the "one country, two systems" principle and the territory's large degree of autonomy. The current situation is extremely concerning: we are witnessing the ongoing erosion of rights and freedoms in the Special Administrative Region. The rise in the number of arrests and sentences and the amount of pressure exerted on civil society – journalists in particular – shows that the national security law is being used to curb freedoms.

As the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong takes office, we reaffirm France's commitment to the "one country, two systems" principle and to the basic law of Hong Kong, as well as respect for human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. We reiterate our call for the Chinese authorities to comply with their national and international commitments with regard to Hong Kong.


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