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Official speeches and statements - June 11, 2021

Published on June 11, 2021

1. Russia - Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman (Paris - June 11, 2021)

France condemns the decision to declare Alexei Navalny’s movement an "extremist organization", which will prevent him taking part in public life and in September’s legislative elections. It represents an additional step backward for public liberties in Russia and comes amid a growing crackdown on both Russian and foreign non-governmental organizations, independent media, and opposition movements and figures, as seen in the recent cases of Andrei Pivovarov, former executive director of the NGO Open Russia, and former Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov.

France reaffirms its commitment to the freedoms of assembly and expression and urges Russia to comply with its international commitments, particularly in regard to respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights. France also reiterates its demand for measures not only guaranteeing Alexei Navalny’s bodily integrity, but also granting his release.

2. United Nations - High-level meeting on HIV/AIDS - Statement by Mr. Olivier Véran, Minister for Solidary and Health - UN General Assembly (New York - June 8, 2021)

Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations

Madam Executive Director of UNAIDS,

Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to address you today at the High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. This event is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment and to discuss the changes needed to stay on course for global elimination of the disease by 2030, despite the crisis we are experiencing.

Rest assured that France is fully mobilized to achieve this goal. We resolutely support the players in the response, namely UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID. France was fully committed to the success of the Global Fund replenishment conference, under the aegis of the French President of the Republic. France remains a leading contributor to international efforts, with more than two billion euros devoted to the fight against AIDS over the past ten years.

The crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic has, however, caused a dramatic setback to hard-won advances in global health, including HIV/AIDS:

  • it has led to the disruption of critical services to prevent, detect, and treat the disease, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • It has led to an increase in physical and sexual violence against women;
  • it has led to a dangerous questioning of the scientific word;
  • it has exacerbated inequalities and social injustices, which increase vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

We must now redouble our efforts to support the most vulnerable populations, to defend human rights and to promote equality between women and men worldwide.

We must also ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic does not alter our mobilization in the face of HIV/AIDS and avoid any crowding out effect that would be catastrophic. This is not about replacing one health priority with another, but about strengthening global health as a whole. It is also about ensuring that our countries, our regions, our planet are more resilient and able to meet the health challenges we face. This is what France is promoting in international organizations: contributing to the multilateral response to Covid-19, but not at the expense of other diseases and in particular the fight against HIV/AIDS.

It is essential to accelerate efforts in prevention and access to affordable, safe and effective treatments. Messenger RNA technology offers promising prospects and hope for a vaccine within our reach. However, we must continue to strengthen health systems and aim for universal health coverage.

Equitable access is also linked to treatment innovation - and here I would like to commend the key role of UNITAID, whose work has led to a significant reduction in the price of antiretroviral treatment.

The Covid-19 crisis proves that we must pursue this action with even greater ambition, in particular by strengthening drug production capacities in countries where access to treatment is still very difficult.

France remains mobilized, with and along international organizations and all actors of civil society.

Thank you.

3. United Nations - Cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union - Statement by Mr Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - June 10, 2021)

[ translation from French ]

Mr. President,

I thank the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, for his statement.

The European Union is providing concrete solutions to threats to international peace and security.

With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union has demonstrated its mobilization by being behind the launch of the ACT Accelerator in April 2020 with the WHO. It has initiated two resolutions that led the foundation for strengthening the WHO and the multilateral health architecture. The COVAX facility, financed to the tune of more than 2.4 billion euros by the European Union and its member states, has already made possible the distribution of nearly 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 43 African states. The European Union’s humanitarian air bridge allowed us to support the United Nations’ efforts to ensure humanitarian access in the context of the pandemic.

Faced with crises, the European Union and its Member States are mobilizing: we are collectively deploying over 5,000 personnel in peace operations.

I wish to focus on some concrete examples.

In the Sahel, the European Union is providing valuable support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force, particularly in terms of equipment and by financing the support mechanism through MINUSMA. This support remains insufficient though. At the N’Djamena summit, France, like the G5 Sahel countries, the European Union and the African Union, once again called for increased support from the United Nations and all international partners for the Joint Force.

In Syria, the European Union and its member states are the leading contributors to the humanitarian response with more than 24 billion euros pledged since 2011. Europe will only be able to contribute to the financing of reconstruction when a credible political solution in line with Security Council Resolution 2254 is under way.

On the Iranian nuclear file, the European coordinator and the other participants to the JCPOA have been engaged in discussions for more than two months in Vienna to allow a return of the United States and Iran to full compliance with the 2015 agreement and Resolution 2231. We wish that these discussions will be concluded swiftly.

In the Middle East, the European Union has mobilized to allow a cessation of hostilities during the latest escalation of violence in Gaza. But for the ceasefire to last, the structural causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be addressed by creating the conditions for a resumption of the political process and by implementing the two-state solution. This is the position of France, it is that of the European Union, and we will continue to work to this end.

In Libya, the European Union is fully committed to ending the crisis. It is deploying the EUNAVFOR MED IRINI operation, which priority is to implement the United Nations embargo on arms heading to Libya. The European Union can contribute to the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, under the aegis of the United Nations, in full agreement with the Libyan parties. The United Nations must deploy the ceasefire monitoring mechanism as soon as possible.

Finally, in Afghanistan, the European Union is the leading donor in supporting stability and preserving the progress that benefits the Afghan people. As such, the European Union is fully legitimate to contribute to the inter-Afghan political negotiations which is the only path toward peace in Afghanistan.

Across the European continent, the forced landing of a flight by the Belarusian authorities was a blatant reminder that repeated violations of human rights also have direct consequences for security in Europe. The European Union has responded firmly.

In Ukraine, the European Union mobilized to respond to the surge in tension on the eastern border and in Crimea last March-April. Within the Normandy format, France and Germany spare no effort to relaunch the political process.

We also hope that the European Union can continue to be associated with the inter-Cypriot discussion process conducted under the aegis of the United Nations.

Finally, Mr. President, the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms are shared priorities, as is the protection of civilians. The European Union and its Member States are mobilized to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, the Youth Peace and Security agenda, and Children and Armed Conflict agenda.

Mr. President,

You can count on the resolute commitment of the European Union and its Member States to work with the United Nations, within the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter, in all crisis zones and to contribute to the construction of a strong and lively multilateralism.

Thank you.