Official speeches and statements - March 20, 2018
1. Russia - Telephone conversation between M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris, 19/03/2018)
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Mr Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on 19 March.
On the day after the presidential election, with Mr Vladimir Putin preparing to occupy the highest executive office once again, the French President, on behalf of France, wished Russia and the Russian people success in the country’s political, democratic, economic and social modernization. He reiterated his commitment to constructive dialogue between Russia, France and Europe. On Syria, the French President expressed his great concern over the situation both in the district of Afrin and in Eastern Ghouta, and he called on Russia to make the maximum effort to bring an end to the fighting and civilian losses. The French President recalled that France remains firmly committed to the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally-recognized borders, and to the effective implementation of the Minsk agreements as soon as possible.
The French President called on the Russian authorities to shed full light on the responsibilities linked to the unacceptable attack in Salisbury, and to regain firm control of any programmes not declared to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He informed the Russian President of the measures taken to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens.
The French President reiterated his strong belief that, on a clarified basis, the cooperation between Europe and Russia, essential to the security of the European continent, is in our countries’ interests./.
The European Union strongly condemns the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK on 4 March 2018, that also left a police officer seriously ill. The lives of many citizens were threatened by this reckless and illegal act. The European Union takes extremely seriously the UK government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible.
The European Union is shocked at the offensive use of any military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, for the first time on European soil in over 70 years. The use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is completely unacceptable and constitutes a security threat to us all. Any such use is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a breach of international law and undermines the rules-based international order. The EU welcomes the commitment of the UK to work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in supporting the investigation into the attack. The Union calls on Russia to address urgently the questions raised by the UK and the international community and to provide immediate, full and complete disclosure of its Novichok programme to the OPCW.
The European Union expresses its unqualified solidarity with the UK and its support, including for the UK’s efforts to bring those responsible for this crime to justice.
The EU will remain closely focused on this issue and its implications./.
(Source of English text: European Union website)
Francophonie - International Francophonie Day (20 March) - French Language and Francophonie Week (17-25 March)
International Francophonie Day on 20 March and the 23rd edition of French Language and Francophonie Week from 17 to 25 March will, as every year, provide an opportunity for French speakers around the world to celebrate the French language in its diversity. More than 1,500 events will take place during the week, involving 70 countries.
The theme of International Francophonie Day this year will be Â“The French language, connecting for action."
French Language and Francophonie Week, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, will highlight the role and use of the spoken word in society. Five hundred bookshops, dozens of voluntary organizations, libraries, schools, universities, museums and theatres, as well as hospitals, will host events. Our Cooperation and Cultural Action Network, in close coordination with the Ministry of National Education, the Instituts franÃ§ais, the Alliances franÃ§aises, French-language schools and all French culture and education stakeholders, will host events abroad during French Language and Francophonie Week.
President Macron has made the promotion of French language and culture a priority. The plan to promote the French language and multilingualism will be announced on 20 March; the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs played an active role in drafting this plan, in close coordination with the Institut franÃ§ais and in collaboration with many stakeholders, including the International Organization of La Francophonie and all states and governments in the French-speaking world.
French, the second most studied language in the world, with some 125 million students and 900,000 teachers of French abroad, is the second most important language of international news, the third most important in the business world, and the fourth most important on the Internet. It is a working language of major importance in all international organizations. Shared by 274 million people worldwide, the fifth most spoken language on the planet, French, along with English, is the only language spoken on all five continents.
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