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Official speeches and statements - May 10, 2023

Published on May 10, 2023

1. International solidarity - Presidential Council on Development - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 05/05/2023)

International solidarity is a major priority for France, at a time when poverty and inequalities have been rising internationally following the COVID-19 pandemic and the serious repercussions of the war in Ukraine. It is also essential in the fight against climate change, because there will be no transition to a carbon-neutral economy at international level without more justice and more fairness.

France is showing solidarity. It even ranks fourth in the world among countries providing aid. We invested euro15 billion in our international solidarity in 2022, up from euro10 billion in 2017.

France has been a pioneer in transferring anti-COVID vaccine doses to vulnerable populations; forming partnerships with South Africa, Indonesia and Vietnam, which have sought to abandon coal power; and paying countries that protect tropical rainforests in the interests of us all. It is contributing its fair share and even more to finance climate action in developing countries, as stipulated by the Paris Agreement.

At the Presidential Council on Development held today, President Macron asked the Prime Minister to hold consultations with all the stakeholders in this policy, in order to subsequently propose a French strategy of supportive, sustainable investment.

It will serve 10 priority aims, for which precise evaluation indicators will be drawn up:

1. To speed up the coal phase-out and to finance renewable energy in developing and emerging countries in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

2. To protect the most vital carbon and biodiversity reserves, in the forests and oceans, in order to preserve the planet.

3. To invest in young people by supporting education and teacher training in developing countries.

4. To strengthen resilience to health risks, including pandemics, by investing in primary healthcare systems and supporting training for carers in vulnerable countries.

5. To promote African innovation and entrepreneurship, which contribute to the shared destiny of Europe and Africa’s young people.

6. To mobilize expertise and private and public finance for strategic, quality, sustainable infrastructure in developing countries.

7. To bolster food sovereignty, particularly in Africa.

8. To support human rights and democracy everywhere and combat disinformation.

9. To promote women’s rights and gender equality, particularly by supporting feminist organizations and institutions that promote women’s rights.

10. To help our partners combat illegal immigration rings.

To achieve these goals and focus its efforts on the most effective policies, France’s international solidarity policy will continue to encourage innovative approaches, drawing on the Fund for Innovation in Development launched in 2021, and support a culture of assessing results, strengthened in particular through the [Official Development Assistance] Evaluation Commission, created by the programming act of 4 August 2021.

A strategy which prioritizes investment in the most vulnerable countries across the world. French ODA dedicated to the Least Developed Countries will have to increase in the next few years. New vulnerabilities linked to climate change will be taken into account, particularly by ensuring that concessional loans granted by the Trésor and the French Development Agency provide for debt-servicing suspension clauses in the event of a major macroeconomic shock, be it a climate event or pandemic.

A strategy which mobilizes more private investment, particularly in combating climate change and protecting biodiversity.

Lastly, a strategy which mobilizes all the nation’s strengths, especially French businesses, regions and young people. At the Presidential Council on Development the President announced, among other things, a new programme to rally young people around the key issues of international solidarity, through the creation of 3,000 jobs for international experts and volunteers on these issues by 2027.

Finally, France’s influence on these issues will be further strengthened through the City of [Sustainable] Development project in Paris, which is due to welcome new international organizations and foundations active on the issue in the next few years./.

2. Comoros - Joint communiqué issued by France and the Comoros (Paris, 09/05/2023)

Today, Tuesday 9 May 2023, M. Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, and Mme Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, hosted a meeting with Mr Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mahamoud Fakridine, Minister of the Interior, Information, Decentralization and Territorial Administration, and Mr Houmed Msaidié, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, the Environment, Tourism and Crafts, Government Spokesman, of the Union of the Comoros.

The two delegations reaffirmed the friendship uniting France and the Union of the Comoros and expressed their wish for harmonious development in the Indian Ocean’s south-western region. They pledged to step up dialogue between France and the Comoros with a view to strengthening the bilateral relationship and calming tensions.

The two delegations reaffirmed their determination to combat trafficking and people-smugglers and coordinate their joint efforts to protect human lives at sea and manage flows of people between the islands, including through the resumption of maritime links/services.

Mme Colonna and Mr Dhoulkamal also discussed the priorities of Comoros’ African Union chairpersonship, firstly on issues of international peace and security, with a special focus on the situation in Sudan./.

3- Japan - Seventh ministerial consultations of the foreign and defence ministers of the French Republic and Japan - Joint statement (Paris, 09/05/2023)

1 - Mme Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, M. Sébastien Lecornu, Minister for the Armed Forces of the French Republic, Mr Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr Yasukazu Hamada, Minister of Defence of Japan (hereinafter referred to as “the four ministers") met via video conference on 9 May 2023 for the seventh session of the Franco-Japanese political-military ministerial consultations (hereinafter referred to as “2+2").

2 - The four ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Franco-Japanese “exceptional partnership", which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2023 and is based on shared values of freedom, democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights.

3 - The four ministers welcomed the strategy guidelines adopted by France and Japan respectively in the French National Strategic Review of November 2022 and the Japanese National Security Strategy of December 2022. They agreed to step up cooperation between France and Japan on security and defence and their close coordination in international forums, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to defend together multilateralism and a free, open, rules-based international order.

4 - The four ministers reaffirmed their aim of stepping up bilateral cooperation on maritime issues and emphasized the importance of the Comprehensive Maritime Dialogue, an essential component of the exceptional partnership between the two countries. The two countries confirmed the importance of coordinating their actions in the area of maritime security capacity building.

5 - The four ministers applauded the regularity and quality of the operational interactions between the French armed forces and the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, through stopovers and joint bilateral and multilateral exercises. They welcomed the latest bilateral and multilateral interactions conducted since the last 2+2 dialogue on 20 January 2022, including six joint bilateral “Oguri-Verny" exercises in 2022 and 2023, two multilateral “Lapérouse" exercises in August 2022 and March 2023 and the joint exercise by an escort ship from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the French naval strike group on two occasions, in January and February 2023. They also welcomed the stopovers made by two Japanese ships in France in 2022, and the participation of a French aircraft in Japan’s fleet review in November 2022. They reaffirmed their wish to contribute actively to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region through their participation in joint exercises and confirmed in this respect that they will seize forthcoming opportunities for exchanges created by the major French (Pégase, Jean d’Arc mission) and Japanese (IndoPacific Deployment) deployments. They agreed to deepen cooperation projects on defence equipment and technology between France and Japan, particularly by furthering progress on the joint research work focusing on next-generation sea mine detection technology.

6 - The four ministers welcomed the progress on discussions about a lasting framework aimed at mutually improving administrative, political and legal procedures for joint operations and exercises between the French armed forces and the Japan Self-Defence Forces. They have issued their respective services with instructions to speed up the discussions further.

7 - The four ministers affirmed their shared wish to strengthen their cooperation to promote a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific space in a bilateral framework and in cooperation with their allies and partners. In this respect, the French ministers welcomed the guidelines Prime Minister Kishida put forward in New Delhi on 20 March 2023 as part of the new Japanese plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, and confirmed that it is consistent with French and European strategy guidelines. Moreover, the four ministers reaffirmed their desire to step up Franco-Japanese cooperation for the benefit of the Pacific island States. They also confirmed the importance of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM). They acknowledged the contribution to the stability of the South Pacific made by the engagement of the Japan Self-Defence Forces in joint exercises such as Marara in French Polynesia in April 2022 and Croix du Sud in New Caledonia in April 2023. Taking account of the fact that France is an Indo-Pacific nation, the Japanese ministers reaffirmed the importance of France’s presence in the South Pacific (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna), and the French ministers welcomed the opening of the Japanese consular office in Nouméa in January 2023, which offers new prospects for development and bilateral cooperation.

8 - Sharing strong concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea, the four ministers reaffirmed their opposition to any attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo by force or coercion. The four ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as essential elements in the international community’s security and prosperity, and encouraged a peaceful resolution of disputes between the two shores. The ministers confirmed that France and Japan’s fundamental position on Taiwan remains unchanged.

9 - The four ministers again condemned in the strongest terms the war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine, which is a flagrant violation of international law. They agreed to continue their support for Ukraine for as long as it takes and to continue coordinating their action with the international partners, first and foremost within the G7 framework. They reiterated their determination to coordinate closely on the adoption of sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, they emphasized that Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable and that any use of nuclear weapons by Russia would inevitably spark international condemnation and would have serious consequences.

10 - The four ministers emphasized their concern about ongoing nuclear proliferation crises. They voiced their shared determination to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, and called on Iran to implement its international obligations and honour its political commitments on non-proliferation without delay. They strongly condemned North Korea’s continuation of its nuclear and ballistic programmes, in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions. They reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and of existing North Korean nuclear and ballistic programmes. The four ministers stressed the importance of the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Japanese ministers highly appreciated France’s steady commitment to the fight against illegal transhipments. The French ministers expressed their support for the efforts Japan is making to ensure the immediate return of all the Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea./.

4. Ukraine - New Russian airstrikes - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, 09/05/2023)

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the missile and drone strikes that again targeted Ukraine in recent days, particularly the city of Kyiv. While Vladimir Putin falsely claims that Russia is the victim of an attack by the “collective West," it is Ukraine and its people that are continually subjected to massive missile and drone strikes.

These strikes and bombardments once again deliberately targeted civilian objectives in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. They once again underscore Russia’s desire to continue escalating its war of aggression against Ukraine. Yesterday and the day before yesterday, a Ukrainian Red Cross warehouse full of humanitarian aid was destroyed in Odesa and a mobile hospital was damaged by Russian strikes in Mykolaiv.

As Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna has stressed repeatedly, these unacceptable actions are war crimes and cannot go unpunished. France will continue to provide support to Ukrainian courts and to the International Criminal Court to combat impunity for such crimes. It will also continue its military and civilian support in order to bolster Ukrainian resilience for as long as necessary. (...)./.

5. United Nations - NISFA (Sudan/South Sudan) - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York, 09/05/2023)

=Translation from French=

Madam President,

I would also like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Martha Pobee and Special Envoy Hanna Tetteh for their briefings and to welcome the presence here today of the representatives of Sudan and South Sudan.

I wish to stress four points.

First of all, the Abyei area is once again affected by the instability of its regional environment, since fighting started in Sudan on April 15. This vulnerability is being fueled by the status quo that prevailed since 2011. It is worsened by every crisis in the region.

This is especially unfortunate since the conflict in Sudan threatens to stall the positive dialogue initiated in recent months between Khartoum and Juba. We commend these efforts, which offer encouraging prospects. We call upon the parties to pursue these efforts.

Stability in Abyei can only be achieved by the parties themselves.

The current crisis must encourage them to return to fundamental aspects. Beyond issues related to the final status of the territory, progress can be made to improve the local communities’ living conditions and prevent inter-community violence. We welcome peacebuilding efforts undertaken under the aegis of UNISFA, in conjunction with the UN country teams in Sudan and South Sudan. We encourage the United Nations to adapt to current challenges in order to preserve this achievement.

We also call upon the communities of Abyei to keep out of the ongoing conflict in Sudan. As for parties to the conflict, they must refrain from any action that could add to the instability in Abyei, which must be demilitarized.

UNISFA has an important role to play in protecting civilians. In this regard, we commend the efforts to reduce tensions between the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities. We are concerned by ongoing violence between the Ngok and Twic Dinka communities. We call upon the South Sudanese authorities to continue their peace efforts.

UNISFA has only recently completed a complex and costly reconfiguration. It is already facing new logistic challenges. UNISFA must keep the capacity it needs to fully fulfill its mandate. We count on the Secretariat, on troop contributor countries, and on countries in the region to ensure that it does.

Madam President,

In this context, we reiterate our full support to Special Envoy Hanna Tetteh and her team. The United Nations has an essential role to play in coordinating peace efforts in the Horn of Africa, particularly with regard to the conflict in Sudan. France is playing its full part in these efforts. We encourage states in the region to settle their disputes through dialogue, whether it be Abyei, other border disputes, or the Renaissance Dam.

Thank you./.