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Official speeches and statements - June 8, 2017

Published on June 8, 2017

1. Egypt - Bilateral relations - Fight against terrorism - Statements by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, at his joint press briefing with Mr. Sameh Shukri, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Cairo - June 8, 2017)

Thank you, dear friend, Sameh Shukri. I’m very pleased that Egypt is one of my first destinations as Foreign Minister (...) —my second destination, the first having been Tunisia. It’s no accident—firstly because, in my previous duties as defense minister, I had the opportunity to come here, to Egypt—this country which France has friendly and long-standing relations with, as you’ve said—eight times in less than three years. And the fact that this is one of my first visits is a sign that I really intend to continue this special relationship.

I’ve come to send a message of friendship from President Macron, a message of support in the reforms under way, and a message of solidarity in the face of the terrorism which has plunged your country into mourning, and our country too not long ago. Only a few weeks ago, Egyptian Copts were targeted by one of those groups that preach hatred and try to sow division in our societies, and I wanted to meet Pope Tawadros II today to extend to him my condolences and (...) express the French people’s wholehearted solidarity.

France has always stood alongside Egypt in difficult times, and that’s especially true at the moment, when Egypt is facing grave threats.

As you’ve said, and as I noted during my previous visits, President Sisi has undertaken significant reforms. Moreover, French businesses have never stopped expressing their interest in the Egyptian challenge, to support Egypt’s economic development efforts, and we’ll go on helping our businesses continue their work here, in both our countries’ interests. I’m thinking in particular of the building of the Cairo metro, which has become a symbol of our cooperation for the benefit of all Cairo’s inhabitants.

We must broaden our cooperation with great determination, in every field: the fight against terrorism of course, but also education, culture and development aid.

And finally, we must work together on resolving regional crises; I’m thinking in particular of Libya. We can’t allow instability which benefits terrorists and traffickers of all kinds to thrive at the Egyptian border, on Europe’s doorstep. We owe it to the Libyan people themselves to show this determination, and we had the opportunity, Minister, to discuss it this morning, and we’ll have another opportunity to discuss it later on. It’s an important challenge when it comes to putting forward peaceful solutions, to which Egypt and France are very committed.

We have substantive dialogue; we have, above all, trustful and frank dialogue, because ultimately those are the two words that characterize our relations. Our personal relations first of all, and the relations I’ve had in previous years with my defense colleague and with President Sisi: trust, frankness, friendship. That’s the history of our relationship, which we now intend to continue, through fruitful dialogue.

2. European Union - Defense - European Commission’s presentation of a detailed plan on strengthening Defense Europe - Press communiqué issued by Mme Sylvie Goulard, Minister for the Armed Forces (Paris - June 7, 2017)

Mme Sylvie Goulard, Minister for the Armed Forces, welcomes the European Commission’s presentation of a detailed plan on strengthening Defense Europe.

Against a background of recurring terrorist attacks in Europe and the world, the European Commission’s proposals are a welcome wake-up call. The European Union and its members owe European citizens greater protection.

A European defense fund, ultimately destined to distribute ambitious sums of money, is being proposed. It marks a turning point for more effective cost-sharing, and also defense capabilities.

This work gives the issues of innovation, resources and technological sovereignty a major political boost. These themes, I am convinced, must be at the heart of our common strategy. It is up to us to grasp this opportunity. We will have to conduct an effective, constructive debate at the European Council and European Parliament to allow these projects to come into being as soon as possible.

The three different scenarios proposed by the European Commission are clear and force everyone to face up to their responsibilities. France, which is making a very special defense effort, welcomes this.

I will talk to several of my European counterparts and partners about these subjects in Prague on Friday at the defence and security conference organized by the Czech government and the European Commission.