France’s role is to promote peace, respect for international law and the search for political solutions to conflicts, particularly when they occur on the European continent. So we had to regain the initiative; we couldn’t let the violence in Ukraine go on indefinitely.
That’s why the French President took the initiative of having a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, to highlight the need for de-escalation and a relaunch of the political process between Ukraine and Russia.
The initial results are there to see; they’re visible. President Poroshenko, whom the French President spoke to on Sunday, has just announced that the gunfire in Donbass has stopped and that the ceasefire is being observed. Negotiations are now going to be held between the Ukrainian authorities and the separatists; they’re due to take place soon in Minsk. We must now prepare the subsequent stages, which must ensure lasting peace in Ukraine.
That’s what we are focusing on. To that end, the Minsk Protocol of September is our compass. Our strong belief, broadly shared in Europe we believe, is that there’s no other possible goal than to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a democratic Ukraine, and no other path for achieving this than a political agreement in the framework of the Minsk agreements.
As the Prime Minister recalled yesterday during his visit to the Czech Republic, the goal, the priority for France is to build a lasting political solution in eastern Ukraine.
Regarding the sale of the Mistrals, the President and the government are fully conscious of their responsibilities; the President’s decision to postpone delivery of the Mistral until further notice clearly takes into account the circumstances, which are exceptional. But I can assure you that our goal is indeed not to allow new walls to be built in Europe./.