Official speeches and statements - August 30, 2016
2. Libya - Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris - August 26, 2016)
Home Secretary discusses counter terrorism, security and migration with France’s Interior Minister in Paris
The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, the Rt Hon. Amber Rudd, and the Interior Minister of France, Bernard Cazeneuve, met in Paris on August 30, 2016.
This very first meeting since the Home Secretary’s appointment in her role gave the opportunity to reaffirm the intention of France and the United Kingdom to deepen further the close partnership enjoyed for many years, as both neighbors and partners within Europe. Effective UK-France cooperation remains crucial in addressing the shared threat we face from terrorism and extremism, as well as addressing the current challenges posed by the migratory flows to Europe. We pledge that this cooperation must and will be developed, now and after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
Reinforcing the fight against terrorism
The terrorist attacks which hit France, as well as other countries on the continent over the last 18 months, make our commitment to work closely together even more important.
In recognition of the ongoing terrorist threat to France and the United Kingdom:
- British and French security and intelligence agencies will continue to strengthen links through sharing of intelligence and closer working on investigations
- we will deepen our collaboration on radicalization including through further exchanges of good practice and experience between experts
- we will support better regulation and control of the acquisition and possession of weapons within the EU, including by adopting as soon as possible the revised firearms directive and by tackling weapons smuggling through the Balkans
- we will continue to work closely to counter any potential threats to maritime and aviation security
- we will prioritize information sharing between all member states, in order to meet the threats facing us - this means ensuring interoperability of EU and international databases, and the full use and implementation of all available tools
- we call for all member states to implement the EU Passenger Name Records Directive without delay and include, as agreed, charter flights and intra-European flights
- we call for the reinforcement of external borders through improved information-sharing, enhanced security measures, and systematic use of all available databases
- recognizing that encrypted communication used by terrorists is a real challenge, we are committed to share best practice and innovative ideas on how best to respond, and we call on those who have not yet signed and ratified the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime to do so as soon as possible
Addressing the situation in Calais together
In the face of the challenges posed by ongoing migratory flows in Europe, and taking into account the migratory pressure in the Calais region and the particularly difficult humanitarian situation, we are committed to working together to strengthen the security of our shared border, to strongly diminish the migratory pressure in Calais and preserve the vital economic link supported by the juxtaposed controls in Calais.
Specifically, we will in the coming months:
- continue our close cooperation to resolve the situation in the Calais region by further securing the ports and tunnel. A total of euro100 million have already been provided by British authorities to reinforce security. Work will be taken forward rapidly on priorities identified in the regular joint UK-France security reviews. Moreover, over the last year, the French authorities have been providing 1,000 police and gendarmes day and night to prevent intrusion and protect people and goods around and in the tunnel and port areas. This scheme has just been recently reinforced with 160 additional officers.
- continue our close cooperation in order to bear down on the organized crime gangs exploiting the vulnerable. Twenty-eight criminal networks have been disrupted in 2015, and an additional 28 since the beginning of this year.
- address the humanitarian challenges in Calais as around 7,000 migrants are now present, including 5,000 without housing. Since 2015, the French authorities have taken more than 2,000 asylum seekers from the Calais region into the national asylum seeker scheme and more than 5,000 migrants into temporary centers all over France.
- continue to work together to return illegal migrants in Calais who are not in need of protection. Since 2015, more than 2,700 illegal migrants have already been removed from French territory.
- bring unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to the UK when in their best interest, in accordance with the Dublin III regulation.
The two countries recognize the humanitarian situation in Calais that affects both countries and the need to step up joint efforts to improve the situation in Calais. The ministers today agreed to continue their close cooperation in all fields covered in the joint ministerial declaration of August 2015 and investment efforts to protect the shared border. The additional work in this respect will reflect the outcome of the UK-France security reviews and the steps that need to be taken (including by the UK) to continue to manage the common border effectively.
We look forward to our countries’ collaboration on these and other important issues in the months and years to come.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault spoke on the telephone on 26 August to Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council and Prime Minister of Libya, to congratulate him on his efforts to bring about national reconciliation and his government’s action against Daesh [so-called ISIL] in Sirte.
The Minister applauded the Presidential Council’s decision of 24 August confirming its determination to serve the country’s general interest by working with Parliament to strengthen the Government of National Accord. This decision reflects a spirit of compromise. The House of Representatives is urged to act responsibly by helping implement the Skhirat agreement.
The Minister reiterated France’s full support for Mr Sarraj and the Presidential Council. France is paying particular attention to the Libyan authorities’ increased control of oil resources in the wake of the Skhirat agreement.