Official speeches and statements - April 6, 2017
2. Mali - Death of a French solider - Statement by Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Paris - April 6, 2017)
3. Syria - Chemical attack - Statement to the press by Mr. François Hollande, President of the Republic (Noyon - April 5, 2017)
The President was extremely sad to learn of the death of a corporal from the Angers 6th Engineer Regiment in Mali last night following a clash with terrorists during an operation in the south-east of the country.
He pays tribute to the sacrifice of this French soldier, who was killed carrying out his mission to defend our country and protect our fellow citizens.
He extends his sincere condolences to his family, friends and brothers in arms, and assures them of the nation’s wholehearted solidarity at this painful time.
The President expresses his confidence and pride in the French soldiers who are bravely fighting the armed terrorist groups in the Sahel. He reiterates France’s support for Mali and for the United Nations force in implementing the peace agreement.
It was with immense sadness that I learned of the death of a corporal from Angers 6th Engineer Regiment, who was engaged in France’s fight against terrorism in Mali.
My thoughts go to his family, close friends and brothers in arms, to whom I extend my most sincere condolences.
In Gao tomorrow with my German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, I shall pay tribute to this soldier, who sacrificed his life in an essential battle for the peace and security of Mali, the whole region and, beyond that, our own security.
Q - A short question on Syria. You spoke this morning of a war crime. What response are you calling for now?
A - Dropping gas canisters on people, children, isn’t an act of war that can be accepted, it’s a war crime. We’re looking at repeated war crimes, because, if you remember, Bashar al-Assad’s regime had already gassed part of the population in 2013 and used a weapon that is banned by international laws.
So what France has demanded is for there to be a Security Council resolution in the coming hours in order to conduct an investigation. Following that investigation, sanctions will have to be taken against the Syrian regime, because we’ve been condemning that regime for a long time, and those who are indulgent towards that regime today must also be held accountable. I’m talking firstly about the accomplices, i.e. those intervening in Syria and ensuring that Bashar al-Assad’s planes can proceed to drop gas canisters. But I’m also thinking of political leaders, including in France, who are supporters not merely of a political solution—we all want one—and not merely of negotiations—we’d like them—but who show themselves to be supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and are indulgent towards Bashar al-Assad. Those people must know today that they’re accomplices to a war crime.