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Official speeches and statements - October 16, 2017

Published on October 16, 2017

1. Iran - United States - Joint statement by France, Germany and the United Kingdom (Paris - October 13, 2017)

We, the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, take note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPoA] to Congress and are concerned by the possible implications.

We stand committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. Preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring program. Therefore, we encourage the US administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.

At the same time as we work to preserve the JCPoA, we share concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities that also affect our European security interests. We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the US and all relevant partners. We look to Iran to engage in constructive dialogue to stop destabilizing actions and work towards negotiated solutions.

Our governments are committed to ensuring the JCPoA is maintained. Independent of the JCPoA, we need to make sure that our collective wider concerns are being addressed.

We have asked our foreign ministers to consider with the US how to take these issues forward.

(Source of English text: UK government website)


2. UNESCO - Election of Mrs. Audrey Azoulay as Director-General of UNESCO - Statement by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - October 13, 2017)

I welcome the Executive Board’s decision to propose to the General Conference, which is to meet on 10 November, to elect Mme Audrey Azoulay Director-General of UNESCO, at a time when the institution is facing historic challenges.

The time has come for member states to rally around the project Mme Azoulay is championing, so that UNESCO can concentrate on its essential missions: spreading knowledge, promoting quality education for all, protecting world heritage and our environment, and autonomy for women and girls. France promotes strong and responsible multilateralism capable of tackling the challenges of our time. It would like UNESCO to serve the goals of peace and sustainable development which are central to the United Nations project.

I want to pay tribute to Irina Bokova, who managed to face up to the many challenges UNESCO faced during her two terms. I would also like to commend the other candidacies and the excellent projects promoted by our partners.


3. Somalia - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson - excerpts (Paris - October 16, 2017)

(...)

France condemns the terrorist attack that killed almost 300 people and injured more than 500 others on October 14 in Mogadishu.

We assure all the victims and their families of our solidarity at this painful time.

France stands alongside Somalia - which has been hard hit - in the fight against terrorism. (...).


4. Defense - Syria - Iraq - Fight against terrorism - North Korea - United States - Interview given by Mrs. Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, to the daily newspaper "Le Monde" (Paris - October 14, 2017)

Q. - Is France a medium-sized, European or global power?

THE MINISTER - In a very uncertain and unstable international context, the [strategic defence] review states, above all, what France wants to do: maintain and even develop strategic, technological and operational autonomy. To maintain that autonomy, it’s important for France to keep a full armed forces model, which justifies the historic increase in resources decided on by the President.

This means keeping the nuclear deterrent, being able to intervene alone or in a coalition and being able to bring NATO and European Union allies into our operations. In the Sahel, our ability to intervene across the military spectrum is an incentive to our partners to join us.

Q. - Is France at war?

THE MINISTER - That language, which may have been used in the past, doesn’t feature in the strategic review. The French armed forces carry out a number of missions on national territory - including Operation Sentinelle - in support of the domestic security forces, as well as operations in various theatres like the Sahel and the Levant, without forgetting the maritime theatres... Those missions are not set to be reduced over the coming years. That doesn’t mean the details of the effort won’t be revisited.

Q. - Which is France’s priority region: the Mediterranean or Africa?

THE MINISTER - France has something unique: it’s a founder member of the EU, the only country in the bloc that will possess nuclear weapons after Brexit and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. In the new context of Brexit, this uniqueness becomes even clearer and predisposes France to intervening in a broader geographical area which isn’t solely its neighbourhood.

But the review does stress the fact that a geographical area exists in which France must be capable of intervening alone if necessary or in conjunction with our allies, in accordance with the law: from the Mediterranean basin to sub-Saharan Africa, an area our major allies won’t necessarily go to spontaneously. We must be capable of intervening swiftly there, then honouring our commitments there in the long term.

Q. - Are Syria and Iraq part of this area where France has a remit to intervene?

THE MINISTER - The President has asked us to work specifically on this issue. Once the military organization of Daesh [so-called ISIL] - the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State organization - is defeated, we’ll face a sort of mutation and other terrorist movements could develop.

The question of the form of the coalition’s commitment will very soon be asked and, for France, that of support for the Iraqi army, at Baghdad’s request, in a process which is also diplomatic and economic. The link between the jihadist terrorist threat on our territory and the potential breeding ground for threats which that region will be in future suggests that we won’t be leaving the region overnight.

Q. - In the 2013 White Paper, Islamist terrorism wasn’t mentioned as such. It’s mentioned 40 times in this review.

THE MINISTER - Terrorism, a major threat, is automatically described as jihadist. That’s a reality of the security context we’re living in today, which we no doubt hadn’t sufficiently appreciated when Daesh hadn’t yet established itself in Syria and Iraq.

Q. - Do you say, like some of our allies, that Russia and China pose an «existential» threat?

THE MINISTER - We emphasize the return of military competition and the reaffirmation of the Russian and Chinese powers. We absolutely don’t use your language with regard to China. As for Russia, it’s not a threat in itself. In some regions of the world, the key to resolving problems also involves Russia. So we must clearly make allowance for and develop frameworks of dialogue between Europe and Russia. However, in the face of new affirmations of power, we must show that we’re not disarmed.

Q. - Are other states a threat?

THE MINISTER - Nuclear proliferation in all its dimensions is, with the challenge North Korea is posing. Regarding Iran, we recall that the agreement signed in July 2015 is a stabilizing factor in relation to this proliferation process. There are no very new elements, but the heightening of each of the threats is the major fact guiding our analysis and our recommendations in terms of military capabilities.

Q. - Do these threats mean a sort of pivot towards the Asia-Pacific region, where France has interests and territories?

THE MINISTER - We have a useful presence there, because of our departments and territories, because of the existence of defence relations, because of our bases, and because of the permanent or temporary deployment of ships. We’ll seek to ensure that international rules prevail in that region.

Q. - The review highlights the preventive function. Have we learned lessons from the limits of military interventions?

THE MINISTER - Prevention is the ability to stop situations degenerating and needing armed intervention, by means of a stabilizing presence as near as possible to potential crisis areas. This involves, of course, a cross-cutting approach involving everything from the armed forces to development agencies and from diplomacy to the intelligence services’ activities. It’s nothing new, but in an unstable world it’s especially necessary and justifies the existence of our overseas garrisons and forces, maritime deployments and the efforts we make with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. This being the case, each must play its role.

Q. - France is calling for cooperation projects, but to what extent?

THE MINISTER - France must be able to be totally autonomous: in terms of the nuclear deterrent, it goes without saying, but also of protecting the country, intelligence, the ability to command operations, special forces and cyber defence. By definition, all the rest is open to cooperation and partnership at European level.

We’d like to be able to intervene in variable-geometry configurations with countries that have the capabilities to conduct operations alongside us. In addition to the efforts being made to bring about a Defence Europe, the President has called for a common force capable of responding swiftly to urgent needs. If we had to repeat an operation of the same type as in Mali, it would be better to go there with other Europeans from the outset.

Q. - But which ones? In Germany, for example, any deployment requires a vote in the Bundestag.

THE MINISTER - The Germans have the capacity to support us. Nor are we giving up conducting operations with the United Kingdom, with which we have very strong bilateral defence relations that Brexit isn’t set to alter.

Q. - And cooperation with the United States?

THE MINISTER - With regard to the environment and geostrategic context, the review underlines the less predictable nature of our American ally today. Seen from the United States, protecting Europe is a less significant issue than it may have been. But it’s also said that Washington remains a crucial partner - France is working to maintain the solidity of the transatlantic link.

Q. - What are the priorities set for the armed forces?

THE MINISTER - The strategic review doesn’t deal with the operational contract - the number of planes, ships, armoured vehicles and troops deployed in various circumstances. It draws up a long list of capabilities our armed forces will have to meet. A few are eminently important: the ability to be the first to enter a theatre of operations in the face of hardened defences, and to remain there. We mustn’t forget intelligence: the efforts made must be continued, while strengthening the ability to handle data gathered.

Q. - Where do you position the cursor between the regeneration of forces, which are said to be worn-out, and investments for the future?

THE MINISTER - Clearly you have to do both. But must we do everything in a single military estimates act, or aim for a longer timeframe in order to distribute the effort more effectively? The question can be asked. Rebuilding the potential for intervention is a major priority. That regeneration will, by definition, consume substantial resources.


5. United States - Fight against terrorist financing - Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the American Department of the Treasury (Paris - October 13, 2017)

United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire met today and agreed on a set of measures to strengthen the bilateral US-French cooperation in the fight against terrorist financing.

First, given the key role that targeted financial sanctions play in the fight against terrorist financing, Secretary Mnuchin and Minister Le Maire agreed to make full use of existing relevant instruments both at the national and international level.

Furthermore, France and the US will deepen their cooperation in the identification and designation of new individuals and entities.

Second, Secretary Mnuchin and Minister Le Maire have decided to coordinate their efforts to strengthen further the means and tools of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). They also agreed to reinforce the robustness of the FATF network of FATF-style regional bodies, to ensure the full and effective implementation of FATF standards in all countries worldwide as quickly as possible.

Third, Secretary Mnuchin and Minister Le Maire agreed to develop a joint initiative to strengthen the tools available to encourage countries that do not fully and effectively implement the FATF standards to do so rapidly. These should include capacity building and technical assistance, as well as counter-measures and sanctions if and where appropriate.

Secretary Mnuchin and Minister Le Maire said: «Terrorism must be eradicated. We will combat all channels and sources of terrorist financing. Today’s decisions to cooperate more closely are an important step in the fight against terrorist financing».

(Source of English text: US Department of the Treasury.)

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