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Official speeches and statements - September 28, 2018

Published on October 3, 2018

1. Syria - Joint statement by the foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States (Paris, 28/09/2018)

We, the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, made the following statement of support for the urgent convening of a constitutional committee to advance the UN’s efforts to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Syria on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

The Syrian conflict has dragged on for more than seven years at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives lost, and millions forcibly displaced by violence both within Syria and beyond its borders. There is an urgent need for concerted diplomacy and international political will to end the conflict. There is no military solution to the war and no alternative to a political solution. We affirm in the strongest terms that those who seek a military solution will only succeed in increasing the risk of a dangerous escalation and wider conflagration of the crisis to the region and beyond. It is, therefore, imperative to move forward with a political solution consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

To that end, we call on the UN and the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria to convene, as quickly as possible, a credible, inclusive constitutional committee that will begin the work of drafting a new Syrian constitution and laying the groundwork for free and fair UN-supervised elections in a safe and neutral environment in which all eligible Syrians - including those in the diaspora - have a right to participate. We urge the UN Special Envoy for Syria to report back to the Security Council on his progress no later than 31 October.

We underscore the Office of the UN Special Envoy’s clear mandate from the Secretary-General and the UN Security Council to move forward with convening a constitutional committee, and encourage all sides to ensure the Syrian parties are prepared to engage substantively in the committee’s proceedings once convened./.

2. European Union - Migration/Aquarius - Communiqué issued by the Prime Minister (Paris, 25/09/2018)

Once again, a European solution has been found; it is humane, effective and respects two essential principles of responsibility and solidarity: landing in a nearby safe port and taking in those on board in a spirit of solidarity.

Malta, whose humanitarian commitment we commend, will take charge of the 58 people on board the Aquarius, among whom are 17 women and several young children.

France, Germany, Spain and Portugal have reached an agreement for taking their fair share of the people rescued. OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] will be on the ground in Malta tomorrow.

The ship Aquarius, which no longer has a flag, will then sail to Marseille.

France has once again shouldered its responsibilities. Since June, it has been at the heart of each European solution to find a response to these emergency situations, in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity.

This solution, which sets strict standards, is the only one which genuinely addresses the issue.

From now on it is essential for concrete, swift action to be taken at European level, as France and several partners are proposing, to establish a permanent mechanism which combines landing at the nearest safe port with taking one’s share of people in need of protection, and the other - economic - migrants having to be swiftly escorted back to the border./.

3. Foreign policy - Paris Peace Forum - Reply by Mme Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris, 26/09/2018)
This week the United Nations General Assembly opens, and it’s an opportunity to focus on the state of peace in the world. What do we observe? Progress between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the end of a bloody conflict; in the Balkans, courageous dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo; and in Asia, a thaw between the two Koreas after what, only a short time ago, led to fears of a military flare-up.

But the state of peace in the world isn’t only this relatively positive outlook, as you yourself mentioned. The Syria tragedy has been going on since 2011, the Middle East peace process has come to a standstill, and in Yemen the population is facing a large-scale political, military and humanitarian crisis.

Faced with this world situation, what should we do? Resign ourselves to it? Watch the current world as spectators? Certainly not.

In Syria, in Libya, in Ukraine, France is making proposals and France is taking action.

Accepting a survival-of-the-fittest approach, as some would like to make us do? Again, certainly not.

What we believe in is the might of the law, an ambitious, renewed multilateralism which our world has never needed so much.

It’s 2018; let’s remember what our continent has been in the past and let’s see what it is today. A century ago the First World War ended. For 70 years Europe has experienced peace, the longest period of peace in its history.

In November this year, France is going to host the Paris Peace Forum, which will bring together thousands of civil society representatives, alongside heads of state and representatives of international organizations; 120 projects for peace around the world will be set out. More than ever, France is playing an active role in championing peace in the world./.