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Official speeches and statements - August 26, 2021

Published on August 26, 2021

1. Afghanistan - G7 Leaders Statement on Afghanistan - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic¹ (Paris, 24/08/2021)

Today, 24 August 2021, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, we the Leaders of the Group of Seven met virtually to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. We were joined by the Secretaries General of the United Nations (UN) and NATO. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the people of Afghanistan, and support the UN Security Council statement of 16 August. We express our grave concern about the situation in Afghanistan and call for calm and restraint to ensure the safety and security of vulnerable Afghan and international citizens, and the prevention of a humanitarian crisis. We call for adherence to obligations under international human rights law, including the rights of women, girls, and minority groups, and that international humanitarian law is upheld in all circumstances. We honour the significant sacrifices made by the Afghan people, people of our own countries, and countless others, who have worked toward a more peaceful, just and secure future for Afghanistan.

The Afghan people deserve to live in dignity, peace and security, reflecting the last two decades of their political, economic and social achievements, in particular for women and girls. Afghanistan must never again become a safe haven for terrorism, nor a source of terrorist attacks on others. Working with partners, in particular NATO allies, we will continue to fight terrorism with resolve and solidarity, wherever it is found. Any future Afghan government must adhere to Afghanistan’s international obligations and commitment to protect against terrorism; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and ethnic and religious minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access; and counter human and drug trafficking effectively. We call on all parties in Afghanistan to work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government, including with the meaningful participation of women and minority groups.

We affirm our enduring commitment to the people of Afghanistan, including through a renewed humanitarian effort by the international community. To this end we support the UN in coordinating the immediate international humanitarian response in the region, including unfettered humanitarian access in Afghanistan, and will contribute collectively to that response. As part of that, we will cooperate together and with neighbouring and other countries in the region on supporting Afghan refugees and host communities as part of a coordinated long-term regional response. We call on all partners of Afghanistan to support this effort and wider regional stability through multilateral channels.

As part of this, our immediate priority is to ensure the safe evacuation of our citizens and those Afghans who have partnered with us and assisted our efforts over the past twenty years, and to ensure continuing safe passage out of Afghanistan. We will continue to coordinate closely on this, and we expect all parties to continue to facilitate this, and to ensure the safety of humanitarian and medical personnel, and other international service providers. We will cooperate together, and with neighbouring and other countries in the region hosting refugees, on a coordinated approach to safe and legal routes for resettlement.

We will work together, and with our allies and regional countries, through the UN, G20 and more widely, to bring the international community together to address the critical questions facing Afghanistan. As we do this, we will judge the Afghan parties by their actions, not words. In particular, we reaffirm that the Taliban will be held accountable for their actions on preventing terrorism, on human rights in particular those of women, girls and minorities and on pursuing an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan. The legitimacy of any future government depends on the approach it now takes to uphold its international obligations and commitments to ensure a stable Afghanistan./.

¹ Source of English text: 10 Downing Street.

2. Afghanistan - Welcoming people evacuated from Afghanistan to France - Evacuation flights on 25 August 2021 - Press release (Paris, 25/08/2021)

The evacuation operations begun on 16 August are continuing.

A 10th and 11th flight, transporting nearly 350 people, including 27 French people and a large majority of Afghans, arrived at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport last night and early this morning.

A 12th flight will arrive at Roissy late this evening with more than 270 people on board, mostly of Afghan nationality.

Since the operations began, more than 100 French people and over 2,000 Afghans will have reached French soil this evening.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for the Armed Forces, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry for Solidarity and Health are ensuring optimal conditions for welcoming the people as soon as they arrive in France. Medical-psychological and practical support is being offered straight away. Fast-track procedures have been put in place to issue visas to nationals of other countries, following the necessary checks and with a view to guaranteeing domestic security.

Regarding the health situation, the way the welcome is being organized is in keeping with health regulations in force in France:

  • in the absence of a full course of vaccination, COVID-19 screening tests will automatically be carried out, and the people welcomed will have to comply with a 10-day quarantine period (Afghanistan is currently a red-list country);
  • COVID-19 vaccinations will be offered.

Afghans who would like to remain in France in the long term will be supported in practical and administrative ways with their asylum applications. They will benefit from specialist support with their residence permit applications and integration processes.

In this regard, we should emphasize the active role being played - under the supervision of the Inter-ministerial Delegate for the Reception and Integration of Refugees (DIAIR) - by voluntary organizations funded by the State: in particular France Terre d’Asile, but also Adoma, Aurore, CeCler, Coallia, France Horizon, Habitat et Humanisme, Viltaïs, Forum Réfugiés and Groupe SOS, whether it be during this operation or during the many evacuations previously carried out (since May 2021, 623 local recruits, representing 152 families, have been evacuated to France, and between 2012 and 2019, 800 French-army auxiliaries, accompanied by family members, have been brought here).

The situation in Kabul is still complex. All the State services concerned and the French Embassy on the ground remain fully mobilized to ensure further flight rotations. Additional flights are expected to take place in the next few days./.

3. United Nations - Iraq - Statement by Ms Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, chargée d’affaires a.i., to the Security Council (New York, 25/08/2021)

(Translation from French)

Thank you, Mr. President,

And I thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her statement. UNAMI is doing an absolutely remarkable job under her leadership, in the service of the Iraqis, and she has the full support of France.

I also welcome the presence of the Iraqi representative here this morning.

Mr. President, I have three messages today.

My first message is one of support for Iraq as it asserts its essential role in regional stability and security. The regional conference to be held in Baghdad on August 28, which will be co-chaired by the Iraqi Prime Minister and President Macron, will be an opportunity for Iraq to assert itself as a pole of stability in the region. France is absolutely convinced that a prosperous and peaceful Middle East depends on a sovereign and stable Iraq.

This requires, in particular, that the Iraqi authorities exercise effective control over all the armed groups present in the country. It also means continuing the fight against Daech. As recent deadly attacks have shown, this terrorist group continues to be active in Iraq. It is essential that the international coalition continue to support the Iraqi authorities by adapting its methods of action to the threat.

My second message concerns the need to respond to the legitimate demands expressed by the Iraqi population, particularly since the start of the October 2019 protest movement.

The organization of early elections, which are scheduled for next October, is welcome in this regard. We are pleased that this Council has given UNAMI broader prerogatives, at the request of the Iraqi authorities, to support and observe the elections. On a national level, France has also contributed euro1,000,000 to the financing of these activities. It is important that these elections have a high participation rate. This requires in particular that the climate be conducive to a peaceful campaign, that the security of candidates be ensured, and in particular the security of all those from the October 2019 movement as well as civil society.

Responding to the demands of the population, it is of course also to conduct the reforms that the country needs to get out of its dependence on oil, to fight against corruption, to ensure quality public services, including health services. Finally, it means ensuring that the perpetrators of crimes against demonstrators do not go unpunished, which is still largely the case today, unfortunately.

My third message concerns the humanitarian challenges facing the country, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial that the United Nations humanitarian response plan be replenished. With regard to the situation in Sinjar, it is essential that the security component of the agreement concerning this locality be effectively implemented to allow the return of the displaced Yezidi population. More broadly, we hope that the dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil will intensify in order to resolve all outstanding issues.

Finally, I would like to address the issue of the Kuwaitis, which was mentioned by the Special Representative, and the missing third-country nationals. Progress on this front is being confirmed with the identification of the remains of additional individuals in July. We hope that cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait will continue so that the torment of the families of the victims comes to an end.

Finally, I would like to conclude by reaffirming France’s full support for Iraq in the face of all the challenges it faces.

I thank you./.