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Official speeches and statements - February 4, 2021

Published on February 4, 2021

1. Lebanon - Joint statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for European and Foreign Affairs of France and Antony Blinken, Secretary of state of the United States of America (Paris/Washington, 04/02/2021)

Six months after the August 4 explosion which occurred in the Port of Beirut, causing hundreds of casualties and significant damage, France and the United States reiterate their full unambiguous support to the Lebanese people.

As we have done since the explosion, including with the United Nations, our partners and the Lebanese civil society at the August 9 and December 2 support conferences, France and the United States will continue to extend urgent assistance to the Lebanese people, including health, education, housing, and food support.

France and the United States also expect rapid results on the inquiry into the causes of the explosion. The Lebanese justice system must work transparently, removed from any political interference.

The six-month anniversary of this tragic event underscores the urgent and vital need for Lebanese stakeholders to finally act upon the commitments they have made to form a credible and effective government, and to pave the way for the implementation of necessary reforms, in accordance with the aspirations of the Lebanese people. Such concrete actions remain absolutely crucial for the engagement of France, the United States and their regional and international partners to provide additional, longer-term structural support to Lebanon./.

2. Burma/Myanmar - G7 foreign ministers’ statement (Paris, 03/02/2021)

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning the coup in Myanmar.

We are deeply concerned by the detention of political leaders and civil society activists, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and targeting of the media. We call upon the military to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically-elected government, to release all those unjustly detained and to respect human rights and the rule of law. The November election results must be respected and Parliament should be convened at the earliest opportunity.

The military’s restrictions on information flows are deeply concerning. Civilians, including civil society and the media, must not be subject to reprisals in any form. We also call for unrestricted humanitarian access to support the most vulnerable.

G7 Foreign Ministers recall their 2019 communiqué in which we restated our commitment to Myanmar’s democratic transition, peace and accountability for human rights violations and abuses.

We stand with the people of Myanmar who want to see a democratic future./.

3. United Nations - Briefing on the Alliance for Conservation of Rainforests - Speech by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations (New York, 04/02/2021)

Bonjour à tous, c’est avec grand plaisir que j’ouvre cette réunion sur l’Alliance pour la préservation des forêts tropicales. Bienvenue. Il était très important pour nous de vous tenir informer dès que possible de l’état d’avancement de l’Alliance. Et c’est l’objet de cette réunion. Je vais poursuivre cette réunion en anglais mais je sais que l’Envoyé Spécial de la France pour l’Alliance, mon ami Pierre-Henri Guignard, s’assure scrupuleusement que tout ce qui touche à ce projet est non seulement diffusé en anglais, mais aussi en français et en espagnol.

Dear Excellencies, dear all, it is a great pleasure for me to introduce this briefing on the Alliance for the conservation of rainforests hosted by France and co-sponsored by Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Gabon, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Philippines and Spain, that I thank for their support. I am pleased to see that so many of you have responded to our invitation. So, first of all, let me warmly thank you all for your interest in the Alliance.

The picture, today, is very bleak. Rainforests continue to disappear at an alarming rate. Over half of the tropical forests worldwide have been destroyed since the 1960s. The conservation of rainforests is therefore an urgent matter. Time is running out. We need to act and we need to do it together now.

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the link between deforestation, protection of human habitats and human health. This relationship was one of the four themes explored during the One Planet Summit for biodiversity organized by President Macron in January. As the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his speech on the state of the planet last December, "COVID recovery and our planet’s repair must be the two sides of the same coin". "But there is no vaccine for the planet. Nature needs a bailout."

2021 must be the year for nature. The Alliance could not be more timely. Initiated at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in 2019, the Alliance was launched in New York in September 2019. There is therefore no better place than New York to take stock of the progress accomplished so far. Of course, contacts are made and will be made with your capitals. But New York is the city where all delegations are present and we would like to speak to all of them today.

The Alliance is for all rainforests worldwide. The Special Envoy of France for the Alliance, my friend Pierre-Henri Guignard, that I would like to thank for his immense work, will explain it in more details.

We hope that you will appreciate this briefing aiming both at providing you with the most recent information on the Alliance and listening to your views as well. Thank you again for being with us today and let me now give the floor to you Pierre-Henri./.