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Official speeches and statements - May 20, 2016

Published on May 23, 2016

1. Disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804 - Statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts) (Paris, 19/05/2016)


Before closing this conference, I’m sure you will understand if I go back to what happened during the night, in the early hours of the morning. I was informed that the plane that was to leave Roissy, that did in fact take off from Roissy for Cairo, Egypt, was lost, and that there was reason to fear that it had crashed. The information that we - along with the Prime Minister, members of the government, and of course the Egyptian authorities - were able to obtain confirmed, alas, that this plane crashed and was lost. It had 66 people on board in all, including the crew and security personnel. Among them were 15 French nationals. We therefore contacted the families concerned, and the crisis cell was immediately activated.

We are working with the Egyptian authorities to ensure that all the families receive support and information at this difficult time, and they have our solidarity and our compassion. This is not the first time that such a disaster has occurred, and we know what it means for the families and loved ones. But it is also our duty to learn everything we can about the causes of what happened, and no hypothesis is being ruled out or given priority over others.

I therefore want everything to be made available to the Greek and Egyptian authorities so that, working together, we can send boats and planes to find out where the plane crashed and, if possible, find debris that will allow us to uncover the truth.

And once we have the truth, we must draw all the necessary conclusions about whether this was an accident or another possibility that is on all our minds: an act of terrorism. But at this stage, our top priority is showing our solidarity with the families and seeking the causes of this disaster.

I know that the French government is mobilized, I know that many organizations - beginning, of course, with the airline in question, as well as the authorities of friendly countries, and foremost among them, the Egyptian authorities - are mobilized, and we will get to the truth.

2. Nigeria - Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with his Nigerian counterpart (excerpts) (Abuja, 14/05/2016)

Mr President,


I confirm to you that we had a long one-to-one meeting, because we have a strong relationship between our two countries. I had the opportunity to signal the importance I attached to it during my visit in February 2014 for the centenary of the country’s creation. I also wanted - it was two years ago almost to the day - to convene a summit in Paris between Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, which together were facing the threat from Boko Haram, so that we could define a common strategy. When I welcomed President Buhari in September 2015, we again emphasized the importance of implementing this Paris plan, and this afternoon we’ll be holding a second summit, here in Abuja, both to take stock of the progress made in the past two years and to broaden our action further.

But the results are already impressive. Some very important points have been scored in the fight against Boko Haram. This terrorist group, which has committed massacres and is, sadly, continuing to carry out attacks targeting civilians, this terrorist group, which abducted girls from Chibok several months ago, this terrorist group has been driven back, weakened, forced to retreat. This terrorist group is being hunted down, has abandoned territories it controlled and has thus been further targeted. This terrorist group nevertheless still poses a threat.

These results have been achieved thanks to President Buhari’s determination, thanks to coordination between the actions of the countries in the region - we’re going to meet the heads of state of the neighbouring countries to define in greater detail the resources we must put in place - and also because France has shouldered its responsibilities, because France has supported - through intelligence, information, training and equipment - the actions taken by the Multinational Joint Task Force, and it’s this cohesion, this solidarity and this strategy that have enabled us to achieve the success we’re aware of.


With President Buhari, I wanted to give an additional sign of these closer ties between our two countries, through a letter of intent, which has been signed and which lays the groundwork for a defence agreement. We also wanted to discuss other issues and, in particular, sign agreements: cultural, scientific and technical agreements but also a development agreement with the AFD [French Development Agency], which is going to put in new resources. Let me remind you that Nigeria is the main beneficiary of the French Development Agency’s support and loans.

Many decisions and investments are being made by Nigerian and French businesses, and here in Nigeria, businesses like Total, Peugeot, Alstom, Thalès, Airbus and many I’ve forgotten have the firm intention of extending their investments further.

We’ve also signed an agreement on agriculture and nutrition, because we’re aware of Nigeria’s needs but also the ability of French holdings to meet them. (...)


We also had a discussion about the follow-up to COP21, because Nigeria played a very important role in the signature of the agreement and there’s a very specific project, namely the protection of Lake Chad. Financing funds have been envisaged at European level. It will also be possible to build on them with COP21-linked financing, and along with the countries in the region we intend to mobilize them very quickly to protect the environment, but also to provide work to a number of people living around Lake Chad so that their future can be protected. There’s another subject that will be discussed this afternoon - we’ll come back to it -, namely displaced people and refugees. There are two million refugees and displaced people, and it’s very important that we can both guarantee their return and enable development policies, particularly around Lake Chad.

I want to thank President Buhari once again for his welcome and his friendship to France.

3. Iraq - Attacks in Baghdad - Statement by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 17/05/2016)

I utterly condemn the wave of deadly attacks carried out in Baghdad by Daesh [so-called ISIL].

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families. I express my wholehearted solidarity with the Iraqi people in the face of the ignominy and barbarity of Daesh terrorists. The Iraqis can defeat Daesh by joining together.

France is determined to continue its fight against Daesh, alongside the Iraqi authorities and its partners in the international coalition.

4. International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia - Message from M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris, 17/05/2016)

Dear friends,

On this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I would like to send you a message - first of all, to pay tribute to the work of all those who defend LGBTI people’s rights, and to tell you that France will continue to play a driving role in ensuring international law on the matter is complied with and furthered.

Today, in more than 70 countries, homosexual relations are punished by prison or even the death penalty. In others, homosexuality and transexuality are regarded as illnesses that should be «cured». All this is unacceptable and deeply intolerable!

France cannot resign itself to this. It has worked hard to put the issue on the United Nations’ agenda. Progress has been made, but it is still insufficient. So we must continue our active efforts to achieve a clear goal: the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.

We shall continue to support all actions carried out at local level, particularly for defenders of LGBTI people’s rights and those who are most under threat. In my visits, I have had the opportunity to meet various NGOs and to realize the difficulty at local level. Our ambassadors are therefore playing a fully active role.

France is also providing financial support and would like development funds to provide more help for LGBTI people, particularly in the health sector, where discrimination is very serious. As the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, France will focus even more on this.

We must also set ourselves an example, promote diversity and equality, and combat all forms of discrimination within our own organizations. As Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, I am especially mindful of this.

Beyond this day of mobilization, the doors of the Quai d’Orsay and of our embassies will always be open to human rights defenders and therefore to defenders of the rights of LGBTI people. Thank you.

5. Climate - COP21 - Implementation of the Paris Agreement - Climate Convention - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs (Paris, 17/05/2016)

The heads of delegation of the 197 Parties to the Climate Convention are meeting for the first time since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, for a formal negotiation session in Bonn from 16 to 26 May.

The meeting must lay the groundwork for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The French presidency will have to guarantee balance between all the issues being negotiated, to maintain the spirit of cooperation that existed in Paris.

Ségolène Royal, President of COP21, introduced the negotiators’ work: «You are now more than negotiators: I call on you to be co-builders and facilitators. It’s now about building on the ambitious, balanced, fair compromises reached last December, in order to strengthen action on the ground. The foundations have been laid; it’s now up to us to build our common home.»

At the session, the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreeement (APA), tasked with preparing for its entry into force, will be held. In particular, the focus will be:

  • on how to present the national contributions;
  • on the transparency framework which will be drawn up to ensure that the implementation of commitments to adaptation and mitigation, including financial commitments, is monitored;
  • on preparing a collective assessment of these contributions in order to evaluate the progress made, with an initial meeting in 2018.

The two Subsidiary Bodies (for Implementation, the SBI, and for Scientific and Technical Advice, the SBSTA) will also resume their work, part of which will also concern preparations for the Agreement’s entry into force.

Numerous workshops, experts’ meetings and parallel events will be organized to facilitate the transfer of experience in many areas of activity (avoided deforestation, education in capacity-building, consideration of the social and economic value of carbon, financial support, etc.). Finally, the presidency will carry out consultations, as it pledged to do, on the issues raised by the Africa Group and Turkey during COP21.

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