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Official speeches and statements - May 26, 2016

Published on May 26, 2016

1. Ukraine - Prisoner exchanges - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 25/05/2016)

The French President welcomes the prisoner exchanges that have taken place today in line with the commitments made during the Normandy-format telephone conversation on 23 May. In particular, they have enabled the helicopter pilot Nadia Savchenko to return to Ukraine.

This is a significant gesture for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which must occur as soon as possible.

The President and the German Chancellor are continuing to work together resolutely on this.

2. Ukraine - Prisoner exchanges - Statement by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 25/05/2016)

I welcome the release today, Wednesday, of Nadia Savchenko and several other prisoners. Over recent months, France has been tirelessly campaigning with Russian leaders for this release and, more broadly, for the exchange of all prisoners, according to the “all for all” principle agreed in Minsk on 12 February 2015.

France, alongside Germany, will continue its efforts to implement the Minsk Package of Measures.

3. Egypt - Meeting between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 24/05/2016)

The President welcomed His Eminence Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar institution, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the Minister of the Interior.

The Grand Imam talked about his action, as head of that eminent spiritual institution of Sunni Islam, to combat downward spirals into extremism. The French authorities welcomed these efforts and presented to him France’s priorities in this sphere. The President spoke about the situation in France and welcomed the commitments made by the representatives of French Islam to help prevent radicalization.

4. Egypt - Expulsion of a French journalist - Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesman (Paris, 25/05/2016)

We have learned of the expulsion of Rémy Pigaglio, a correspondent for La Croix and RTL in Egypt, who had been detained at Cairo airport since 23 May.

France deeply regrets the Egyptian authorities’ decision. Throughout the world, it champions freedom of expression and freedom of the press. President Hollande reaffirmed this publicly during his state visit to Egypt on 17 and 18 April 2016.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, raised the situation of this journalist on 24 May with Sameh Shukry, his Egyptian counterpart. Our ambassador in Cairo and his staff were in contact with Rémy Pigaglio and his family. They have approached the Egyptian authorities at every level to ask them to reconsider their decision.

5. Syria - Telephone conversation between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and the German, British and American leaders - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 23/05/2016)

The French President, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama had a conversation about the situation in Syria.

They expressed the wish that the agreement on the cessation of hostilities could come into force as soon as possible and said they would be very vigilant about compliance with the commitments made on 11 February by the International Syria Support Group, particularly the ending of strikes by Russia and the Syrian regime on moderate opposition groups and civilians.

They emphasized how urgent it is to take every necessary measure to end the humanitarian crisis, particularly in Aleppo.

The four heads of state and government stressed the need for full cooperation by the regime and its supporters in implementing humanitarian assistance measures, and they called for discussions to begin quickly on a genuine political transition, according to the terms set out in Resolution 2254 and under the UN’s aegis.

6. Euro 2016 - Security measures - Replies by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, to questions in the National Assembly (Paris, 24/05/2016)

Last Saturday, at the match which took place at the Stade de France, a number of problems emerged. The first point I’d like to emphasize is that the match wasn’t organized in the way that will prevail during Euro 2016. The organizers weren’t the same and the security measures put in place weren’t the same as the ones we’ll be deploying.

However, the problems observed must be taken into account in the organization of Euro 2016.

Why did those problems occur? Because the number of entrances and pre-filtering areas planned for the match was insufficient, and this posed a problem with ease of movement at the entrances and consequently with the efficiency of checks.

Having observed that the bodies responsible for security in the stadium, which include the French Football Federation, had not correctly signposted the entrances and had not fulfilled their obligations, I brought all the organizers together for three meetings yesterday. The whole security set-up was re-examined in order to achieve three goals: ease of movement at the entrances, efficient security searches and frisks, and ease of movement at the exits. The set-up will thus be totally revised on the basis of yesterday’s feedback and recommendations.

I also asked the area préfets [high-ranking civil servants representing the state at departmental or regional level], whom I brought together yesterday, to kindly supervise the whole operation in each city. Finally, I had a meeting with Alain Juppé yesterday evening, and we agreed that once the measures had been taken, the fan zones would be kept.


I’ll add to the reply I gave your colleague by providing you with details of Euro 2016’s security set-up. The event is being organized, including in terms of security, in conjunction with two bodies: UEFA and the Association des villes pour l’Euro 2016 [host cities association], which will organize the fan zones. Of course, the Interior Ministry itself is highly mobilized. Indeed, no fewer than 43,000 police, gendarmes and Interior Ministry officials will be mobilized for this event.

So that security is fully guaranteed, every aspect of this event must be controlled. From the places where teams are staying to the training grounds, stadiums and fan zones, every step must be taken to ensure that the event is safe.

The division of responsibility between the government and the organizers is straightforward. The government will ensure security outside the fan zones and stadiums; the local authorities and private security guards will ensure security inside the fan zones; UEFA, which is itself mobilizing private security guards, will ensure security inside the stadiums.

Even though last Saturday’s event was not a full-scale test, because the way it was organized is very different from how Euro 2016 will be, what happened has led us to review the whole set-up by paying particular attention to certain points: risk anticipation by means of border control and preventing hooligans from causing trouble, joint work by the intelligence services, mobilizing all the security forces, recruiting 20% more security guards than necessary and everyone complying with all clauses [of the security contracts]. This is why I called on those involved in football to shoulder their responsibilities.

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