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Official speeches and statements - May 16, 2018

Published on May 16, 2018

1. Israel - Palestinian Territories - Reply by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris - May 15, 2018)

I’ve already spoken about the issue twice, earlier. I reiterated France’s firm condemnation of the Israeli army’s unjustified, disproportionate action against the Palestinian demonstrators.

I also remind you that I recalled the need to take into account the humanitarian situation in the Gaza area, where there are two million inhabitants, most of them refugees or the children of refugees, who are afflicted by despair and a lack of prospects.

And it’s important that, on the situation in the Middle East, we keep the three fundamental principles we always have in mind and have always repeated:

To achieve a peaceful resolution, a framework is needed. That framework is international law, and international law is the United Nations Security Council resolutions which have been unanimously approved by the Security Council in the past. It’s necessary to comply with international law, which also stipulates that the status of Jerusalem should be the end result of negotiation and not the precondition. That’s why the French President and the government have condemned President Trump’s initiative.

The second aspect is the method. The method is negotiation and not imposing faits accomplis.

And finally, the third point is the goal. As we’ve said, as I repeated earlier, the goal is to have two states which both have Jerusalem as their capital and live in peace and security within recognized and respected borders.

France is committed to that, and since yesterday the President has been having intense consultations with President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this afternoon, the King of Jordan and other interlocutors, in order to arrive at the beginnings of a negotiation, which must now find its path.

2. Iran - Meeting with the French businesses affected by the American withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) - Statements by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, during his joint press conference with Mr. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance (Paris - May 15, 2018)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Bruno Le Maire and I wanted to meet businesses directly or indirectly affected by the potential consequences of the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Vienna agreement.

I’d like to begin by saying that France regrets the decision, and reiterating that the Vienna agreements are being maintained and that the other signatories do intend to keep the agreement going. Because it’s an agreement providing security, an agreement for our own security, because it prevents nuclear proliferation in a region which is already particularly destabilized.

We wanted to talk to businesses about the consequences. We told them about our determination to fight to ensure that the decisions taken by the United States don’t have any repercussions on French businesses, in particular, which have invested in Iran. We told them that as far as France is concerned - this is the President’s position - decisions to restore US extraterritorial sanctions are unacceptable to us and there’s a challenge here that we must take up again, particularly at European level. We’ve decided to begin an ongoing, in-depth dialogue with French businesses to gauge on a daily basis the consequences and initiatives to be taken.

At any rate, Bruno Le Maire and I are determined to assert our own sovereignty and our own decision-making capacity in this situation. We sensed the same determination from businesses.

3. WTO decision on Airbus launch aid - Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, and the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Ministry of Transport (Paris - May 15, 2018)

The Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has just issued its decision on the dispute brought by the United States in 2004 concerning launch aid to Airbus by France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (DS316).

France takes note of this decision, which rejects a large majority of the American allegations concerning subsidies to Airbus and definitively confirms that such assistance is not prohibited under WTO rules. The Appellate Body also recognizes that the European Union is complying with a very large majority of the recommendations formulated by the WTO in 2011.

As for the few points that remain to be resolved, in conjunction with the European Commission, France - which fully believes in respecting international trade rules - confirms its intention to abide by its international commitments by adopting new compliance measures in the near future.

This dispute must be balanced against the one brought before the WTO in 2005 by the EU focusing on various American tax measures and research subsidies that directly benefited Boeing (DS353). Previous WTO decisions in this case confirmed the US government’s massive ongoing support for Boeing aircraft. France will pay close attention to the Appellate Body’s decision in 2019 that will determine whether the United States has taken adequate measures to comply with the decision condemning it in 2012.

France reaffirms its commitment to the WTO’s rules, which facilitate the upholding of the rule of law and the multilateral resolution of trade disputes.

4. Combating proliferation - International justice - International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs deputy Spokesman (Paris - May 16, 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will chair, on May 18, a new session of the International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons - for which he wanted to bring together the participating states following the chemical attack that killed several dozen people in Douma on 7 April, the publication of the OPCW report on May 15 on a chlorine gas attack in Saraqeb on February 4, 2018, and the use of a chemical weapon on British territory in Salisbury on March 4.

The participating states will exchange information on these incidents and the perpetrators involved in the development and use of these weapons. They will make proposals on how to respond to this exceptional situation and its implications for the international chemical weapons non-proliferation regime. The participants will notably work on ways to develop a new investigation mechanism to establish responsibility in cases involving the use of chemical weapons and to strengthen the verification capabilities of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). They will adopt a series of commitments aimed at strengthening their cooperation and supporting the work of international organizations, especially the OPCW.

This interministerial meeting will be preceded by a meeting of international experts on May 17.

The International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons was launched in Paris on January 23, 2018. It now brings together 33 states and organizations which, through their membership, have expressed their rejection of impunity for those who develop and use chemical weapons. This partnership is open to all states that want to subscribe to these goals, within the framework of continuous cooperation.

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