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Official speeches and statements - November 4, 2016

Published on November 4, 2016

1. Climate - Paris Agreement - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - November 4, 2016)

4 November 2016 is a historic day for the planet because it marks the climate agreement’s entry into force.

The commitments made on 12 December 2015 at Le Bourget are now irreversible. The threshold for ratification [of the agreement]—55 states representing 55% of greenhouse gas emissions—was passed in under a year. This proves that the international community understands the full extent of the climate emergency, and this is the result of France’s active efforts in the framework of the COP21 presidency, held by Ségolène Royal.

With a few days to go until Morocco takes over the presidency for COP22, all the goals France set itself have been obtained: the first global agreement in the history of climate negotiations, in Paris on 12 December 2015, its signature by more than 175 countries in New York on 22 April, and its entry into force before the end of 2016.

Following this major step, France will continue its fully active role to ensure that climate justice is respected through the release of finance—$100 billion per year for the climate by 2020—and that the spirit of Paris is maintained and developed through concrete action by the coalitions for solar energy, renewable energy in Africa, the fight against desertification, the protection of the oceans and support for the most vulnerable countries.

The Marrakesh climate conference will have to be a summit of solutions. France stands alongside Morocco with a view to making it a complete success. The French President will go there on 15 and 16 November.

2. Lebanon - Conversation between M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, and Mr Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - November 3, 2016)

The President spoke to Mr Saad Hariri, who was today named Prime Minister of Lebanon by President Aoun. He congratulated him on the appointment and gave him every encouragement with a view to the swift formation of a unity government.

France is at Lebanon’s side for this new stage. The President reiterated how necessary Lebanon’s unity, stability and security are in the dramatic situation the region is experiencing.

The President also spoke to the outgoing Prime Minister, Mr Tamam Salam, paying tribute to the brave action he has been taking in difficult circumstances for over two years.

3. China - Bilateral relations / Syria / climate - Statements by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at his joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart, Mr Wang Yi (Beijing - October 31, 2016)


I’m very pleased to be here again in Beijing. It’s my second visit since I took office in February, and it’s also my fifth meeting with Wang Yi. We’re now in the habit of talking very regularly about bilateral issues but also about the international issues of common interest which concern us and require these discussions.

As you can see, the French-Chinese relationship is especially substantive. Discussions are held especially regularly between our two heads of state, our heads of government and our ministers. In September I was very pleased to take part in the inauguration of the new Chinese embassy building in France. I wanted to congratulate you once again on that very fine embassy—which matches the excellent bilateral relationship between France and China—, situated in a historic building in the heart of Paris.


I began this visit to China with a stopover in Chengdu, where I took part in the opening of the fifth French-Chinese meetings on decentralized cooperation. Fifty-five French and Chinese cities and regions are cooperating very actively in many fields: human exchanges between young people, but also at the level of urban policies, which are linked to the Sustainable Cities Project—I’m thinking of transport, energy, homes, water and all issues linked to implementing the Paris Agreement, which cities and regions can do in a variety of ways, even more satisfactorily. We’re encouraging all these many projects, particularly in France. We’re also encouraging Chinese investment in France, which we could develop even further. It’s welcome in cities and regions, as was emphasized during the fifth meetings.

I was also in a region which has a special link with France. I haven’t forgotten it was Sichuan that Deng Xiaoping left in 1920 for France, where he stayed for six years. I’m sure it shaped his life; at any rate, it was an opportunity to recall the role of that great Chinese reformer.


The other important goal of this visit is to help develop economic exchanges. We scored a great success by signing, in London, the contract to build and operate together a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in the United Kingdom. It’s a very good example of what we can do together: win contracts in third markets, and in every sector. It’s a model we’re supporting everywhere, including in Africa and Asia. We’re soon going to set up a new joint fund to make it easier to fund projects of this kind. It’s a good message for Chinese investors in France, Europe and the world, but also a good message for continued French and European investments in China.

We also want to encourage our businesses to explore new fields. In Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong we’ve just created French Tech Hubs that are going to enable young creatives from French and Chinese businesses to meet and forge ties with already-established businesses and investors. As you know, France is a country of start-ups and we’re very pleased to be extending that network to China. Yesterday evening I also met some major Chinese investors. France is Europe’s main recipient of foreign investment in the industrial sector. In China, French businesses are also creating jobs: they’ve created nearly 600,000 of them. We’d like to work together to improve their environment and ensure they can contribute even more to the Chinese economy.

I have a message for everyone wanting to visit France as tourists: they’re welcome, the Chinese are welcome. France, which will be welcoming more than 1.5 million Chinese tourists this year, hopes to welcome more. As you’ve recalled, Minister, it’s set itself an ambitious target of welcoming five million Chinese tourists in 2020. It wants to give itself the means to welcome them in the best conditions, particularly in terms of security.


Going beyond bilateral relations, we of course discussed all the regional and global issues of mutual interest, doing so in a spirit of responsibility and cooperation as two permanent members of the Security Council.

Admittedly, many subjects have led us recently to have close discussions: there are, of course, the worrying developments in North Korea, regional stability in Asia, the Syria conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Africa. We discuss all these issues and try to bring our views closer together. France particularly appreciated China’s position at the Security Council when we presented a resolution to end the bombing in Syria.


And we also have in common the battle against terrorism. It’s an essential battle which involves all our countries. We would also like to develop further our dialogue and cooperation with China in the area of human rights. Our Human Rights Ambassador will be coming here, to Beijing, in December.


France and China are cooperating increasingly closely today on all the international issues. This doesn’t just mean discussing points of view but acting together and finding solutions. The last G20 summit, chaired by China, was a success firstly for China, but also in its objectives and results, particularly regarding the impetus given to the Paris Agreement on that occasion. China, which, through President Xi Jinping, announced the ratification of the Paris Agreement, boosted the agreement’s implementation, which we are all calling for in the interest of each of our countries, but the planet too.

It’s a good way of working together, working for peace, for world stability and also for our peoples’ prosperity. It’s in this spirit that we work together and hold meetings. Our relations are increasingly close and on a human level I also greatly value working with my colleague and friend, Wang Yi. (...)

4. Foreign policy - Iraq / Syria - Interview given by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to the daily newspaper La Croix - excerpts (Paris - November 4, 2016)


Q. - The battle of Mosul has been going on for more than two weeks. Do you believe Iraq’s second city can be recaptured within a short time?

THE MINISTER - Mosul is a dangerous battle for the coalition forces and for the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the city, held hostage by Daesh [so-called ISIL]. So there’s no question of the coalition—to which France belongs—indiscriminately bombing the city. We also have to focus on the thousands of people fleeing it, and think about the aftermath. France is also taking initiatives on this level.

On 20 October we organized a meeting in Paris to discuss the future governance of Mosul and its region, as well as Iraq in general. We must do everything to prevent any future settling of scores. We mustn’t repeat the mistake the United States made in 2003 when it intervened in Iraq—what’s more, without anticipating what would follow. The emergence of Daesh is a consequence of the US intervention.


Q. - In Syria, you condemn the crimes committed by Bashar al-Assad and his supporters. Do you think it will be possible to put him on trial?

THE MINISTER - A tragedy has been unfolding in Syria since the crackdown in 2011 on what was initially a mass public protest. Five years later, there are more than 300,000 dead and 10 million internally displaced people and refugees abroad. That’s more than half the country’s population. On the morning of Thursday 3 November, I hosted a meeting with Paulo Pinheiro, who chairs the international commission of inquiry on Syria.

That commission has no judicial status but works on gathering authenticated witness accounts of crimes and acts of violence on both sides. It’s due to deliver its conclusions to the Human Rights Council, which will present its report in Geneva at the beginning of 2017. Countries will then have to shoulder their responsibilities.

More generally, the fight against impunity in Syria is a condition for peace and a return to stability. France is determined to ensure that the perpetrators of offenses constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity are one day brought to international justice. We’re working on this by trying to persuade the other countries. (...)