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Official speeches and statements - October 20, 2022

Published on October 20, 2022

1. United Kingdom - Telephone conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Ms. Liz Truss, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Paris - October 18, 2022)

President Macron spoke on the telephone to Ms. Liz Truss, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, today, Tuesday, October 18, 2022. The call was made following the meeting between the two leaders in Prague on October 6, on the sidelines of the first European Political Community summit.

They talked about the war in Ukraine and the latest developments on the ground. The two leaders reaffirmed their determination to maintain close coordination as regards the support which France and the UK are providing to Ukraine on the military, humanitarian and economic fronts and in terms of international justice.

2. Syria - Repatriations from north-east Syria - Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - October 20, 2022)

France has today proceeded with a further operation to repatriate French nationals who were in camps in north-east Syria.

The operation enabled 40 children and 15 adult women to be returned.

The minors were handed over to the services responsible for child welfare and will receive medical and social follow-up attention. The adults were handed over to the relevant judicial authorities.

France thanks the local authorities in north-east Syria for their cooperation, which made the operation possible.

3. Chad - Violence in Chad - Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - October 20, 2022)

Violence occurred in Chad this morning, in particular with the use of lethal weapons against demonstrators, which France condemns.

France plays no role in these events, which relate strictly to Chadian domestic politics. The false information about France’s alleged involvement has no basis.

4. United Nations - Central African Republic - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York - October 19, 2022)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative for her presentation, and I welcome the presence among us of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francophonie and Central Africans Abroad.

You can count on France’s full support, Madam Special Representative.

I would first like to pay tribute to the personnel of MINUSCA and to the memory of the three peacekeepers killed on October 3. France expresses its condolences to Bangladesh and the United Nations.

MINUSCA’s commitment is remarkable. The determined approach you have undertaken, Madam Special Representative, has strengthened the territorial base of the operation. Wherever it is deployed, it accompanies Central African forces in the fight against armed groups. France welcomes the improved coordination between MINUSCA and the Central African armed forces and the decrease in SOFA violations. We are concerned, however, by the maintenance of certain restrictions, particularly those imposed on night flights, which can have tragic consequences, as we saw on October 3.

France welcomes the increasing ownership of the peace process by the Central African authorities. The establishment of a committee to monitor the implementation of the joint roadmap is evidence of this. It is essential that women participate fully in this process. The holding of the first trial of the Special Criminal Court is also an important step.

These advances are essential; peace is in the hands of Central Africans themselves. We encourage the countries of the region, with the support of the African Union, the European Union, ECCAS and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region, to continue their support for this encouraging dynamic.

But there can be no progress in the peace process without respect for human rights and democracy.

Reports by the Secretary-General on the increasing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by Central African forces are worrying. They show, if proof were needed, that the installation of Wagner’s mercenaries has contributed to a widespread practice of violence. We cannot tolerate the crimes committed by these mercenaries, which have been widely documented, some of which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights is an essential condition for MINUSCA’s continued operational support to the Central African forces. The Security Council will monitor this with enhanced caution.

France encourages Central African decision-makers to commit themselves resolutely to democracy, respect for constitutional order, the independence of judicial institutions and freedom of the press. We are concerned about the worsening polarization in the country caused by the draft revision of the Constitution, which is still being drafted despite the recent decision of the Constitutional Court, as well as by the increase in incitement to violence and hate speech.

France will soon propose a draft resolution renewing the mandate of MINUSCA and maintaining the increased troop ceiling.

The situation in the Central African Republic remains fragile. MINUSCA needs the unanimous support of this Council to continue its action against armed groups alongside the Central African forces and in support of the peace process. We hope to be able to count on the support of all Council members.

Thank you.

5. United Nations - Mali - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - October 18, 2022)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative for his presentation and to welcome the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali.

I will be brief: Mali is today at a crossroads.

Initial steps have been taken in recent months.

In July, an agreement was reached between the Malian authorities and ECOWAS on the timetable for the transition, with a view to returning to constitutional order and organizing elections by February 2024. The promulgation of the electoral law was a starting point, and a draft constitution to be submitted shortly to a referendum has been prepared.

In September, the agreement’s Monitoring Committee met for the first time in over a year, with Algeria playing a key role.

These were important steps, and they must lead to concrete and rapid results, because the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation and the return to democracy can only come from the Malian parties themselves. MINUSMA continues to support them, as provided for in its mandate.

I want to pay tribute to the men and women who have served in the mission since its inception nine years ago. MINUSMA is one of the most dangerous missions of the United Nations. We take the responsibility each year, as members of the Security Council, to renew its mandate, because we believe that this commitment is worthwhile: for the protection of Malians and their rights, for national reconciliation, for peace and stability in the region.

This brings me to my second message: MINUSMA is today a mission in danger.

The threat is first and foremost security. Terrorist groups are extending their reach and claiming more and more victims. We call on Mali to re-establish relations of cooperation and trust with its partners in the sub-region, in order to present a united front against this cross-border threat.

This threat also affects MINUSMA, which has lost nine peacekeepers since June. I send my condolences to Chad, which lost nine peacekeepers yesterday, as well as to Egypt, Guinea, Jordan and the families of the victims.

It would be unacceptable to expose peacekeepers to such risks without the full cooperation of the host State, in compliance with its Status of Forces Agreement and resolutions 2518 and 2589. However, we note certain obstacles to the mission’s activities. France is very concerned by the Secretary-General’s report, which mentions 20 cases of restrictions on the mission’s ground movements, as well as 22 cases of restrictions on its air movements. This last point is particularly worrying, since evacuation by helicopter is sometimes the only way to save an injured soldier.

There is also the question of operations conducted by some national forces with the support of Wagner’s mercenaries. The reports regarding the number of civilian casualties, and the fact that they are targeting certain communities in particular, are extremely serious. We urge the Malian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of these abuses are held accountable and that the investigations that have been announced are completed.

France calls for the January strategic review to provide clear answers to these questions and to put all options on the table. This is an opportunity for an open discussion with the Malian authorities, both on their expectations of MINUSMA, but also their commitment to ensuring that the mission can implement its mandate in full.

Mr. President,

No one wants MINUSMA to leave Mali. Polls show that the mission is most appreciated in the most remote areas, for its support to security, for its humanitarian role.

We are counting on the spirit of responsibility of the transitional authorities not to precipitate a departure of which the Malians would be the first victims.

Thank you.

6. United Nations - Mali - Additional remarks by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - October 18, 2022)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to clarify the truth, following the false and defamatory accusations made by the Malian transitional government, as contained in the letter sent to the Security Council on August 15, and repeated just now before this Council by the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I recall that the redeployment of Operation Barkhane outside Malian territory ended on August 15, with the departure from Mali of the last French soldier. The communiqué issued on this occasion by the Presidency of the French Republic has been transmitted to the members of this Council.

This redeployment maneuver was decided on February 17, following in-depth consultations with all partners involved in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. It was based on the observation that the political and operational conditions were no longer met to remain engaged in Mali.

France communicated this to the Council, and has always been transparent with the international community, since the beginning of its military intervention in Mali in 2013, an intervention that was based on a request from the Malian authorities.

In this context, I deeply regret the grave and unfounded accusations repeatedly made against France by the Malian transition authorities. I would like to remind you that France has been committed for 9 years alongside Mali, at the request of this country, to fight against armed terrorist groups and that 59 French soldiers have paid the price of their lives in this fight.

France has never violated Malian airspace; I formally contest any violation of the bilateral legal framework. France complies with the requirements of the agreement concluded by the exchange of letters in 2013, despite the unilateral and unjustified denunciation of this agreement by Mali on May 2.

France will remain committed in the Sahel, the Gulf of Guinea and the Lake Chad region, alongside all responsible states that choose to fight terrorism and respect stability and coexistence between communities. We will continue the fight against terrorism in coordination with all our partners and we will also continue to support the civilian populations, who are the first victims of terrorism.

Thank you for your attention.

7. United Nations - Kosovo - Statement by Mrs. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York - October 18, 2022)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her presentation and welcome the presence among us of the Foreign Ministers of Serbia and Kosovo.

Mr. President, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her presentation,

The incidents that took place in northern Kosovo on July 31 are worrying and remind us that there is no other way, either for Serbia or for Kosovo, than to reach a comprehensive, final and legally binding agreement to resolve the dispute between the two countries in a sustainable manner. In this regard, France welcomes the agreement on free movement that was reached on August 27 between Serbia and Kosovo in the framework of the dialogue facilitated by the European Union. This agreement illustrates the EU’s continued commitment to the dialogue, and France commends the efforts of its Special Representative, Mr. Miroslav Lajcak.

France encourages Serbia and Kosovo to fully normalize their relations in a spirit of compromise. The high-level dialogue meeting facilitated by the European Union held in Brussels on August 18 showed that the parties are committed to a comprehensive agreement. The conclusion of such an agreement is an essential condition for the European perspective of Kosovo and Serbia, a perspective in which both parties have a mutual interest and to which France reiterates its commitment.

We call on both parties to implement without restriction the agreements already reached and to refrain from any unilateral measure that could fuel tensions. We encourage Kosovo and Serbia to show a constructive spirit in order to find solutions on current issues, such as the issue of license plate conversion and the supply of electricity to northern Kosovo. It is also essential that progress be made in the working group on missing persons and on the issue of the return of displaced persons.

We express our support for the reform efforts undertaken by the Kosovo government, particularly in the fight against corruption, the rule of law, and economic and social development. These efforts, which must continue, are also essential for European rapprochement, as is the mobilization in favor of the full, equal and effective participation of women in political and social life and for the respect of human rights. We call for the continuation of the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of serious crimes and for cooperation with the Specialized Chambers for Kosovo and the Office of the Specialized Prosecutor.

Mr. President,

We fully support the work of Ms. Caroline Ziadeh, head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), in promoting security, stability, strengthening the rule of law, and respect for human rights in Kosovo and the region. UNMIK can count on the joint action of the European rule of law mission EULEX Kosovo. We particularly welcome UNMIK’s efforts, in conjunction with the municipalities, to support inter-community dialogue. In this regard, we support the proposal to establish a center for dialogue and meetings in Pristina.

France, like the European Union, remains committed to the stabilization of the Western Balkans and to the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Their common European future depends on it.

Thank you.