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Ukraine/Libya/CAR

Published on March 13, 2014
Press briefing by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman (excerpts)

Paris, March 12, 2014

Telephone conversation between M. Laurent Fabius and his Russian counterpart (11 March 2014)

M. Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister, spoke to his Russian counterpart, Mr Sergei Lavrov, yesterday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine.

The Foreign Minister recalled that the vote planned in Crimea on 16 March is contrary to the Ukrainian constitution and would have no legal effect.

Intensive contacts are continuing to try and find a solution to the tensions, which have already lasted too long. (…)

Libya – political situation

France notes the decision by the General National Congress to withdraw its confidence in Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. We pay tribute to the efforts he has made as head of government to face up to the challenges of the transition.

France calls on all the Libyan political forces to show responsibility by agreeing as soon as possible to the designation of a new prime minister. It also calls for the establishment of a credible road map in order for the transition to be completed successfully, in a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation.

National reconciliation is an essential stage in building a law-based state, in line with the Libyan people’s aspirations. (…)

Central African Republic

Q. – The Archbishop and the Imam of Bangui met Minister Le Drian and Minister Canfin before meeting with M. Fabius yesterday afternoon. Was it because of fears of a further escalation of violence between the anti-balaka and Seleka militias, as well as the appeal by a handful of young Muslims in Bangui to Boko Haram and al-Qaeda to save Muslims in the Central African Republic?

THE SPOKESMAN – During their meetings with the Archbishop and the Imam of Bangui, M. Laurent Fabius and M. Pascal Canfin discussed recent developments on the ground, the humanitarian situation and the prospect of establishing a UN peacekeeping operation.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister Delegate for Development notably expressed their support for the invaluable efforts of the religious authorities of the Central African Republic to promote dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation.

They encouraged Mgr Nzapalainga and Imam Kobine to continue their efforts in conjunction with Reverend Nicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou.

Q. – Is the peacekeeping operation in the Central African Republic scheduled to be deployed straight after the resolution vote at the end of March/beginning of April? Do we have to wait until 15 September for the Blue Berets to take over completely? What will the status of the French forces then be?

THE SPOKESMAN – In his report of 3 March, the United Nations Secretary-General recommended the deployment of a peacekeeping operation. This will allow an integrated, lasting solution to be provided, reinforcing both the security dimension (military and police) and the civil dimension of the international mobilization.

On the basis of the United Nations Secretary-General’s recommendations and following the Security Council’s consultations on 6 March, France is going to propose a draft resolution to this effect. It will be discussed with our Security Council partners in the next few weeks. It will aim for Blue Helmets to take over from MISCA [AFISM-CAR] soldiers and police on 15 September, in accordance with the timeframe the United Nations needs. France takes this opportunity to salute the job done by the MISCA troops to promote stabilization in the Central African Republic.

Ukraine

Q. – The Ukrainian media are talking about signs that an armed invasion of the continental part of Ukraine is being prepared. What steps is France going to take with regard to this?

We’re witnessing the redrawing of borders in Europe, in violation of the foundations of collective security. In your opinion, what must France and the EU do for such actions to cease?

THE SPOKESMAN – As regards your first question, it isn’t for us to comment on press reports. We’re expecting signs of de-escalation from Russia.

As M. Fabius said only yesterday, we’re mobilized with all our European partners.

We’ve shown both our firmness – by subscribing to the European decision in favour of putting sanctions in place – and our determination to promote dialogue and a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

M. Fabius is in constant talks with his European, American, Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, with whom consultations are ongoing.

Yesterday evening he spoke on the telephone to the Russian, Polish and German foreign ministers./.

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