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Official speeches and statements - January 22, 2021

Published on January 22, 2021

1. Libya - Libyan Political Dialogue Forum - Statement by France, Germany, the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom (Paris - January 21, 2021)

The Governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States welcome the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s (LPDF) vote in favor of the selection mechanism for a new interim executive authority, which will guide Libya towards national elections on 24 December 2021. This is an important step towards Libyan unity. The LPDF’s decision affirms the clear demands of the Libyan people that it is time for a change of the status quo. We encourage all Libyan parties to act urgently and in good faith to finalize the adoption through the LPDF of a unified and inclusive government. As participants in the Berlin Conference process and international partners of Libya, we will lend our full support to the LPDF’s efforts.

We also welcome the UN Secretary-General’s appointment of Ján Kubis as Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Libya, and the appointments of Raisedon Zenenga as the UNSMIL Coordinator and Georgette Gagnon as Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, and we will fully support them in their important roles. We express our ongoing gratitude to the Acting UN Special Representative, Stephanie Williams, for her continuing steadfast leadership of UN mediation until Mr. Kubis takes up his position.

One year after the Berlin Conference, we underscore the critical role of the international community in support of a political solution in Libya as well as our continued partnership with the Berlin Process members. We remind the Berlin Process members of the solemn commitments we all made at the Summit one year ago, reinforced by UNSCR 2510. In particular, we must continue to support a ceasefire, restore full respect for the UN arms embargo, and end the toxic foreign interference that undermines the aspirations of all Libyans to re-establish their sovereignty and choose their future peacefully through national elections. It is crucial that all Libyan and international actors support steps toward full implementation of the Libyan ceasefire agreement signed on 23 October of last year, including the immediate opening of the coastal road and removal of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.

2. United Nations - CAR - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York - January 21, 2021)

Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to welcome the participation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Central African Republic, and I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mankeur Ndiaye, for his briefing and for his work at the head of MINUSCA. I pay tribute to the seven peacekeepers who have lost their lives since the violence began last December.

I would like to emphasize three points.

First of all, France condemns in the strongest possible terms the violence committed by the self-proclaimed "Coalition for Patriots for Change", supported by former President Bozizé. This coalition not only attacks peacekeepers and Central African armed forces, but also civilians, humanitarian personnel and institutions: this is unacceptable. France therefore calls upon all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, especially as the needs and the number of displaced persons continue to increase.

In this context, France urges the authorities of the Central African Republic and the armed groups to resume dialogue as soon as possible, with the support of the guarantors that are the African Union and ECCAS. New sanctions could be adopted against those who oppose this process.

All those involved in calling for hate and violence, who have committed violations of human rights, international humanitarian law and the peace agreement, and who have contributed to disinformation will be held accountable for their actions.

France will continue to support the strengthening of Central African justice and the fight against impunity, as does the European Union. We hope that the Special Criminal Court will begin its trials in 2021. The Truth, Justice, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission must also be able to begin its activities with all the necessary support and in full independence.

Secondly, France has taken note of the Constitutional Court’s decision confirming the re-election of President Touadéra. We call upon all parties to respect this decision. The electoral process must continue to its conclusion, in accordance with the legal and constitutional framework.

We have also taken note of the address of President Touadéra towards the democratic opposition during his address to the Nation on 18 January.

We invite the Government of the Central African Republic to implement this announcement as soon as possible by creating, with the support of ECCAS, the conditions for an inclusive dialogue, respecting all political sensitivities and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press.

As President Macron recalled, France will remain committed alongside the Central African Republic to contribute to the stabilization efforts in the country.

You can count on our commitment within this Council to provide MINUSCA with all the necessary means to continue its difficult mission. I would like to commend the remarkable attitude of the contingents engaged in the ongoing operations. I would like to recall that attacks against peacekeepers constitute war crimes. Those responsible will be held accountable.

I also commend the action of international partners who provide assistance at the request of the Central African Republic authorities. It is essential that all actions by the legitimate military forces that are present be coordinated with MINUSCA. In this regard, I would recall the operations carried out by French military aircraft in support of the Mission and of the Central African armed forces.

Finally, France recalls that the embargo decided by this Council is aimed above all at preventing the flow of arms into the Central African Republic and that would fall in the wrong hands. The lifting of this embargo will depend on progress made in achieving the objectives set out by our Council, beginning with the management of arms and ammunition. Under no circumstances should the embargo be an obstacle to the strengthening of the Central African armed forces, to which France gives its full support. We have taken note of the concerns and requests expressed by the Central African authorities. France would like them to be examined with all due attention by this Council.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to call upon the government and all Central African actors to do everything possible to put an end to the hostilities and engage on the path of reconciliation.

Thank you.

3. United Nations - Media Freedom in Belarus - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council in Arria formula meeting (New York - January 22, 2021)

I would like first to thank Ms. Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa and all the panelists for their briefing and their very interesting and strong presentation of the situation.

We remain very concerned about the serious deterioration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in Belarus, especially with regards to the freedom of expression, assembly, press, as well as allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, before the presidential elections of August 9, 2020 and in its aftermath.

In this very dire context, the situation of journalists and media workers is particularly worrying. Detentions, imprisonment, torture, as well as death threats are parts of the daily life of journalists in Belarus, as testimonies today have underlined. France, together with the other co-chairs and members of the Group of Friends for the protection of journalists in New York conveyed these concerns through a statement last September, over the multiple reports of harassment, arbitrary arrests, persecution and detention of journalists and media workers, as well as the human rights defenders, other members of the Belarusian civil society and people seeking to peacefully exercise their civil and political rights.

According to the recent report by Reporters Sans Frontières, Belarus has confirmed its status as Europe’s most dangerous country for journalists.

We call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately end their assault on journalists and media workers, release those unjustly detained, and account for those reported missing. Journalists and media workers must continue doing their jobs, as it is vital for the people of Belarus to have access to impartial, independent information about events in their country.

France supports the aspirations of the Belarusian people for freedom, sovereignty and respect for their rights. Therefore it has supported the activation of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. The report published by Professor Benedek in this framework is based on a rigorous and impartial methodology, relevant information, evidence, interviews online and a wide range of direct testimonies. Its conclusions are clear: systemic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms have been committed by the Belarusian security forces, in particular against human rights defenders, opponents, journalists and members of civil society in response to peaceful demonstrations and protests.

Mr. Benedek’s report offers a series of recommendations, first of all to cancel the August 9 elections due to frauds at all stages of the process; to organize new elections in accordance with international standards and monitoring; to cease violence; to release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners as well as ensuring the safety of all journalists and media workers.

We call on the Belarusian authorities to seek a peaceful and democratic solution to the current situation in an inclusive dialogue with Belarusian society and to accept offers of mediation, notably in the framework of the OSCE. We call on States that have an influence on Belarus to use that influence to make the repression stop. We will continue to follow all developments closely in Belarus.

Thank you.

4. United Nations - Colombia - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - January 21, 2021)

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Carlos Ruiz Massieu for his comprehensive and enlightening briefing. I also welcome the participation of Ms. Blum De Barberi to our session.

Mr. President,

It is now more than four years since the peace agreement was signed. Building peace is a long and demanding road. This is why France welcomes the progress made by the Colombian government and people. But we must also look, with lucidity, at the road that remains ahead of us. With regard to the ambitions set in 2016, the implementation of several provisions of the agreement remains insufficient. I will come back to four specific aspects.

Firstly, the continuation of violence is worrisome. They involve children, young people, former combatants, civil society figures, ethnic community leaders and human rights defenders. France calls to end violence and for those responsible to be brought to justice. Colombian society aspires to greater security, which was the whole meaning of the marches and mobilizations we witnessed at the end of last year. The long-term solution, as we know it, is to strengthen the presence of the State throughout the country, including in the most remote areas.

Secondly, we commend all the efforts made with regard to the reintegration of former combatants. That process is already bearing fruit. Efforts must continue, with a focus on former combatants who reside outside the former territorial training and reintegration zones.

Thirdly, comprehensive rural reform must be implemented. In this regard, it is important to overcome the long-standing issue of access to land. Winning peace also means providing viable and just socio-economic opportunities for all and ending once and for all the grip of narco-trafficking. Thus, the illicit crop substitution program, which has demonstrated its effectiveness and represents immense hope for thousands of families, deserves to be consolidated with additional resources. The chapters of the agreement dealing with ethnic and gender issues should also receive special attention, as should those related to political reform, which unfortunately is progressing too slowly.

My fourth point is perhaps the most important: we note with great satisfaction that the overall system for truth, justice, reparations and non-repetition has progressed. Many ex-combatants have engaged in a truth-finding process. This is to be welcomed. A few days ago, the Colombian government sent a letter requesting that the Council extend the mandate of the verification mission. This is an extremely important gesture, which France welcomes, and to which we are prepared to respond favorably.

Mr. President,

The implementation of the peace agreement is a 15-year process, as the Special Representative recalled. We are still at the beginning of this process, and there are many challenges. But the balance sheet, four years later, gives us cause for optimism. Colombia is an example for the international community. That is why France, as well as the European Union, will continue to support all those in Colombia who are mobilized daily to build peace.

Thank you.