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Official speeches and statements - August 10, 2016

Published on August 10, 2016

1. Libya - Joint statement by the governments of Germany, Spain, the United States, France, Italy and the United Kingdom¹ (Paris - August 10, 2016)

The governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States express their concern at reports of increasing tension near the Zueitina oil facility on the central coast of Libya. They express their support for the Government of National Accord’s efforts peacefully to resolve the disruptions to Libya’s energy exports, and emphasize that control of all facilities should be transferred unconditionally and without preconditions or delay back to the legitimate national authorities recognized as such by UN Security Council Resolution 2259. The governments call for all parties to refrain from hostilities and avoid any action that could damage or disrupt Libya’s energy infrastructure.

The governments of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States reaffirm their full support for the Government of National Accord. As underlined by UN Security Council Resolution 2278, Libyan state financial institutions and the National Oil Corporation must benefit all Libyans. The Government of National Accord [GNA] must work with the National Oil Corporation to restore oil production to rebuild Libya’s economy. Restoring oil exports is vital to generating revenues that can provide for the essential needs of the Libyan people, including electricity, healthcare and infrastructure. It is in the interests of all Libyans that they fully support the efforts led by the GNA to provide these key services to the Libyan people.

2. Syria - Humanitarian situation in Aleppo - Speech by the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Arria-formula meeting - excerpts (New York - August 8, 2016)

1/ (...) Since the end of April, the regime and its supporters have put an end to the hopes raised by February’s truce, by embarking on a bloody offensive of Aleppo just when the inhabitants were beginning to resume their normal lives.

2/ Aleppo is therefore plunging, before our eyes, into a humanitarian tragedy. (...)

The intolerable figures and pictures we are seeing give us an idea of the atrocity being experienced every day in Aleppo, the unbelievable violence that only heightens despair and fuels radicalization.

Today, Aleppo is in danger of becoming the new Homs: a city on its knees, a city famished and destroyed.

3/ And the Syrian regime has chosen an extreme escalation. It’s a road to nowhere; it is even doomed to failure, as the military developments at the weekend also showed. But we must utterly condemn this extreme military escalation, in which the regime has supporters, and also expose the regime’s primary responsibility and its cynicism: on the pretext of the fight against terrorism, the regime is seeking to eliminate the opposition. It’s destroying maternity units, hospitals, schools, refugee camps and districts held by the opposition. It has constantly violated international humanitarian law, the resolutions of our Security Council, and the most fundamental principles of humanity. It hasn’t stopped bombing civilians. On the contrary, the desire to surround and starve Aleppo has been manifested in an intensification of strikes targeting vital infrastructure, and particularly hospitals, as we saw this morning.

And elsewhere in Syria, the situation is hardly any better: the regime’s bombs are raining down in particular on the area of Idlib, with the possible use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs.

4/ So in order to prevent these intolerable deaths, the past months should have been devoted to the search for a lasting truce, to full and complete humanitarian access and to a political transition on 1 August. What I’m saying to you isn’t France’s position, it’s the commitments of the whole international community, it’s what Security Council Resolution 2254 says. And yet the regime has been constantly violating those commitments.

5/ France steadfastly calls for international humanitarian law to be strictly respected and therefore, once again, for the sieges to be lifted immediately and for swift, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Aleppo’s men, women and children to be established. In the case of Aleppo, there is nothing humanitarian about the so-called «corridors» proposed by Russia. They could have been described as such if they scrupulously respected international obligations and principles on humanitarian access and on the cessation of hostilities, as the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has pointed out. At this stage, their sole aim was to step up the evacuation of the city so as to bring it to its knees more effectively. All this contradicts Security Council resolutions. It is humanitarian aid that must enter, not civilians who must leave.

Twenty years after the siege of Sarajevo, the Security Council cannot stand by as such barbaric tactics recur. (...) There will be no long-term political solution, there will be no effective fight against terrorism, as long as Syrian civilians are being massacred. Aleppo could become the graveyard of the Vienna process.

Any proposed half-measures, any offer which doesn’t lead to a possible lasting truce and immediate, full and unfettered access to all Syrians, to encourage a transition to which the international community has committed itself in order to end the conflict, is only derisory in view of the situation. And we solemnly appeal to the regime’s supporters and the members of the Security Council and of the International Syria Support Group who have influence over the regime to shoulder their responsibilities to this end.

Thank you.

3. Kuwait - Sale of 30 Caracal helicopters - Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Defense - excerpts (Paris - August 10, 2016)

On Tuesday 9 August 2016, in the presence of French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Airbus Helicopters and the Ministry of Defense of Kuwait signed a contract to purchase 30 Caracal helicopters for the Kuwaiti army and national guard. (...)

The contract is worth more than euro1 billion. It is part of a long-standing strategic relationship between Kuwait and France. Indeed, France committed itself alongside the emirate during the conflict which followed the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, i.e. nearly 30 years ago. Moreover, France still has a defense agreement with Kuwait.

The agreement confirms the high level of confidence Kuwait has in French systems tested on a daily basis in theaters of operation. It highlights the results of these types of helicopters and how well-adapted they are to the operational needs of the Kuwaiti armed forces and national guard.