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Official speeches and statements - March 15, 2017

Published on March 15, 2017

1. Yemen - Statements by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, following his meeting with Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen (Paris - March 14, 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve just had a meeting with Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen. We’ve already had the opportunity to meet on several occasions and also to have telephone conversations [enabling me] to say very clearly that France is especially mindful of what’s happening in Yemen.

It’s a conflict that is talked about less than others, but it mustn’t be forgotten, because the humanitarian consequences on the ground are catastrophic. There are even famine situations - we must be aware of that. There’s a humanitarian emergency, and obviously the war mentality, the military mentality, can’t resolve the problem.

In this increasingly violent military conflict between the [warring] parties, we can see there are unacceptable civilian targets: clinics, schools, markets and public places, where there are a lot of civilian casualties. The situation must clearly be stopped as quickly as possible.

That’s the appeal we’re making to the parties, and that’s why it’s important that the political solution—promoted by the United Nations and very concretely and bravely championed by Cheikh Ahmed—should be upheld with great determination.

Even though his mission is difficult, we trust in him completely to bring about a rapprochement, secure a ceasefire and begin political negotiations.

The urgent thing is also—and this is an appeal we’re making to the warring parties—to enable the humanitarian organizations to get through. At the moment they can’t, and that’s what makes the situation even more tragic.

I’d like to finish by saying that France is ready to help contribute—along with other countries, in the United Nations framework obviously - to a peaceful solution in Yemen.

2. European Union - Bilateral relations - Statements by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at his joint press conference with his counterpart, Ms. Margot Wallstrom - excerpts (Stockholm - March 13, 2017)


We talked, of course, about our bilateral relations. France is present in every field, particularly economically. I’d like to give two figures: 100,000 French people work in Swedish businesses in France and 40,000 Swedes in French businesses in sectors like energy, transport and housing, which are top-notch sectors in France too. I’ll shortly be visiting the ecodistrict of Hammarby Sjostad with the Mayor of Stockholm. There’s also the academic and research field, student exchanges and the culture sector. I remember the exhibition «A Swede in Paris in the 18th Century» at the Louvre Museum. France also has a presence in Sweden at the Stockholms Kulturnatt and is going to continue this activity.

Right now I’d like to thank Sweden for the solidarity it showed after the attacks that deeply affected my country. And once again I’d like to express my gratitude to the Swedes for lending their support on Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union [the mutual defense clause]. Internationally, I want to pay tribute here to our intense cooperation at the Security Council, of which Sweden is now a member, an especially active member. We agree on key issues like the fight against climate disruption, and on development, in particular in Africa, but also linking security and development in Africa, in the Sahel, where our two countries are engaged in MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali]. And also insofar as we can make our contribution together to resolving crises - I’m thinking of Ukraine and Syria. And on Syria, we’re very committed to the negotiation process under way in Geneva. I’d also like to pay tribute to Margot Wallstrom’s personal involvement in the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and lend France’s full support. On 8 March in Paris we organized an international meeting to mark International Women’s Day. We adopted a declaration which we called the Paris Pledge.

Of course, we discussed the future of the European Union, a few days ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty. And the purpose of our dialogue is to strengthen the EU, especially because, after the Brexit decision, it’s important to show the world, and first of all Europeans, that the European Union is the future of our nations and that we must tackle the Brexit negotiation issue not separately but with solidarity and a desire to conduct negotiations that are not aggressive but fair and respectful of everyone’s interests.

Of course, such difficult issues as the migration crisis were on the agenda of our discussions.

And also the European social agenda. Sweden has taken the initiative of deepening Social Europe by organizing a social summit for jobs and sustainable growth in Gothenburg on November 17, 2017. France welcomes this initiative and will make its contribution, so as to make the summit a real success for Europeans. (...)