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Official speeches and statements - November 12, 2018

Published on November 12, 2018

1. Paris Peace Forum - Joint statement by Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kabore (Burkina Faso), Mr. Justin Trudeau (Canada), Mr. Carlos Alvarado (Costa Rica), Mr. Lars Lokke Rasmussen (Denmark), Mr. Emmanuel Macron (France), Mr. Raimonds Vejonis (Latvia), Mr. Saad Hariri (Lebanon), Ms Dalia Grybauskaitè (Lithuania), Ms Erna Solberg (Norway), Mr. Macky Sall (Senegal), Mr. Alain Berset (Switzerland) and Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi (Tunisia). (Paris - November 11, 2018)

The heads of state or government of Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Senegal, Switzerland and Tunisia commend the work of the international independent Information and Democracy Commission initiated by the organization Reporters Without Borders, which has presented today, November 11, 2018, the results of this work at the Paris Peace Forum. This Commission, initiated by Reporters without Borders, proposes, in its declaration published on 5 November 2018, that the global information and communication space be acknowledged as a common good of humankind, where freedom, pluralism and integrity of information must be guaranteed.

The commission underlines that actors in a position to shape this global space have responsibilities, especially in terms of political and ideological neutrality, pluralism, and accountability. It also calls for the acknowledgement that individuals have the right, not only to independent and pluralistic information, but also to reliable information, which is a necessary condition for them to freely form an opinion, and participate in a valuable way to the democratic debate.

Concerned that professional journalism has become more fragile, and that disinformation online continues to spread, both of which upset the functioning of our democracies, preoccupied that political control of the media remains in many countries and that freedom of the press continues to be threatened, as well as the subjugation of information to commercial interests, the heads of state or government of Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Senegal, Switzerland and Tunisia have decided to launch an initiative for information and democracy, inspired by the principles of this declaration.

Seventy years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they will renew, through this initiative that will remain open to support by further governments, their commitment towards the right to exercise freedom of opinion and expression, and define the objectives to be pursued in order to achieve the full realization of these freedoms in the technological and political context of the 21st century.

2. Paris Peace Forum - Joint statement with the international organizations (Paris - November 11, 2018)

We have come together in Paris, France, on November 11, 2018, guided by our shared values of freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as our commitment to promote democratic values and a rules-based international order reinforced by strong multilateral institutions.

We share a responsibility to build a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world, recognizing that respect for human rights, the rule of law, and equality of opportunity are necessary for securing a lasting peace, security and well-being, and to enable a sustainable development that benefits all, leaving no underserved population behind.

We share a fundamental commitment to investing in the citizens of the world and meeting their needs and expectations, as well as to responding to global challenges. We are resolved to work together in creating a healthy, prosperous, sustainable and fair future for all.

We welcome the ongoing cooperation between the UN, the IMF, the World Bank Group, UNESCO, the ILO, the OECD and the WTO. Areas such as maintaining international peace and security, the protection of the environment and biodiversity, development and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), international trade and investments, human rights and gender equality, the fight against corruption and tax avoidance and evasion are interrelated and require coordinated action. These goals are best achieved through a collective action, with the participation of all states. The most pressing challenges in terms of peace and security - climate change, nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism, pandemics, food insecurity, water scarcity, trade conflicts - are global in scope and require global solutions.

The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. However, in recent years, inequality has begun to grow again, and large disparities remain regarding access to basic rights and services such as health and education. Inequalities undermine intergenerational mobility and reduce trust in the socio-political system, with negative consequences for democracy. We reaffirm our commitment to work together and in close coordination with each other in order to reduce inequality, paying special attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

As global challenges require global attention, collective responsibility and global solutions, we remain determined to spare no efforts in order to achieve a sustainable peace and progress via multilateral approaches. We underline the importance of multilateral policies focused on conflict prevention and the necessity of fostering adapted tools and strategies in this regard. We underscore our determination to promote, in coordination with each other, inclusive approaches that support the diverse range of our missions and take into account the entire peace nexus, including prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peace building, humanitarian aid, decent work and development.

We also underline our determination to foster international cooperation to harness positively the potential of the digital transformation for the benefit of all citizens, mitigating risks and ensuring through a rules-based system that innovation leads to healthier economies, fairer societies and better lives.

At a time when multilateralism is contested, we reaffirm our commitment to the existing international institutions as well as our determination to enable these institutions to be ever more representative of the international community and its shared values. International organizations continue to offer a platform where member states, regional institutions and organizations, cities, and civil society can discuss possible solutions to global problems that no state acting alone can resolve. Working together multilaterally is not optional; it is the only answer.

By creating a space for dialogue to share ideas and actions, partnerships and networks between international organizations promote our common goal of a lasting security and development that benefits all. We remain convinced that in order to achieve sustained peace and sustainable development, we need to engage in strong collective action and enhance our collaboration and partnerships, including with the business community, social partners, financial institutions, civil society and regional and sub-regional organizations.

We also recognize the importance for international institutions to continue to innovate and adapt to evolving challenges and new questions facing the international community. The credibility of the multilateral system is achieved by high levels of coordination between international organizations, their ability to reform and to deliver on their mandates, with member states providing the political support and adequate resources necessary for their work. We underscore our commitment to strengthen ou

3. Iran - United States’ sanctions against Iran and European reaction - Reply by Ms. Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, to a question in the Senate - excerpts (Paris - November 8, 2018)


On 5 November, the United States reimposed all its sanctions against Iran. This is a second wave of renewed sanctions targeting the oil and financial sectors.

France deeply regrets the American decision, as we’ve said publicly with Germany, the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union. Together we’ve reiterated our support for the continuation of the JCPOA and for the defense of our businesses trading legitimately with Iran.

To date, Iran has implemented its commitments under the agreement, as the International Atomic Energy Agency has again certified in its latest report. This is the precondition for the support of France and its partners and the reason why the Europeans, but also China and Russia, are committed to maintaining the agreement and the benefits Iran can derive from it.

As for the Europeans, this is the whole purpose of the work we’re doing to establish a common credit fund, the SPV - the special [purpose] vehicle - which you mentioned. In the short term, it aims to facilitate financial transactions for businesses that wish to continue trading with Iran, in accordance with European and international law. But in the longer term, and beyond the Iranian case itself, it’s about creating a tool of economic sovereignty for the European Union, because - you’re perfectly right - we can’t agree to our businesses falling victim to extraterritorial sanctions when they comply with our law. (...)

4. First World War centenary - Statement issued following the Council of Ministers’ meeting - excerpts (Charleville-Mézières - November 7, 2018)

The Minister for the Armed Forces and the Minister of State attached to the Minister for the Armed Forces made a statement regarding the First World War centenary.

The French President wanted to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War through a commemorative journey, an event unprecedented in terms of its purpose and duration. This journey and the events of November 10 and 11, including the international ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, will be the highlight of the exceptional series of First World War centenary commemorations.

In 2011, it was decided that the nation would pay a prolonged and exceptional tribute to the men and women of the Great War. In order to succeed, a specific governance body was established. Created in 2012 in the form of a public interest grouping involving the state, local authorities, public institutions and sponsors, the First World War Centenary Mission was the major coordinator and instigator of this commemorative cycle. (...)

The centenary was dedicated first and foremost to military personnel from metropolitan France, overseas France and the former colonies, who were both heroes and victims of a war marked by its scale and intensity. Many national and local ceremonies have provided an opportunity to recall, over the four years that have gone by, the commitment, bravery and endurance of more than eight million men who fought under the [French] flag between 1914 and 1918, from the humblest soldiers to commanders-in-chief, from those who had come from Africa and Asia to those from small villages in French regions. It has been a chance to honor, in France and the countries of the Eastern Front, the sacrifice of nearly 1.4 million dead and four million wounded.

In the government’s presence, the allied nations, too, have honored the memory of their soldiers who died on French soil. Among others, Britons, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Portuguese have organized several international ceremonies.

Powerful gestures have been made together with the German authorities to celebrate Franco-German friendship and send a message of peace to Europeans at the battlegrounds themselves: a joint ceremony at Verdun and the inauguration of a Franco-German Historial [memorial to the history of the First World War, from the words "history" and "memorial"] in Alsace. On November 10, a ceremony in Rethondes will bring together the French President and the German Chancellor.

Because this was a total war, France wanted to pay tribute to all of society, to the departments on the front and at the rear, to civilians and to the women mobilized in the fields and factories - be it through educational projects, exhibitions, seminars or publications.

Thanks to the measures taken, the centenary has been extremely popular with French people and enabled families to reclaim their history.

In 2013, French people were invited to hand in their family archives to municipal, departmental or national archive services. This great collection, which is still continuing, is a success that has enriched the public archives. (...)

At a more detailed level, the search engine Grand Mémorial, made available to French people by the Ministry of Culture, has enabled families to rediscover the individual stories of their ancestors by searching First World War soldiers’ indexed registration forms and the databases of the Ministry for the Armed Forces and diplomatic archives.

Schools have picked up on the collection idea, involving their pupils in rediscovering the faces and destinies of men and women from their local areas. Together with the Centenary Mission, the Ministry for the Armed Forces has supported nearly 1,000 Great-War-related educational projects.

The centenary has also been a part of every region: both those which were the theater of conflict and those making up the rear. Projects have been set up in every department: more than 6,000 of them received the official centenary label, 2,139 of those for 2018, enabling us to rediscover the history of towns, departments and regions during the Great War.

Meanwhile, many voluntary organizations have created, modernized or expanded memorials, museums and study centers devoted to the First World War. The Ministry for the Armed Forces has backed them up by supporting 51 projects worth more than €17 million over the period. Visitor numbers to historic and commemorative sites in the Grand Est and Hauts-de-France regions have increased by nearly 30% in that time. (...)

Cornerstones of our individual and collective memory, 1,600 of our war memorials have been restored by communes. At the same time, the Ministry for the Armed Forces has carried out an unprecedented restoration program for World War I military cemeteries: 56 cemeteries have been completely renovated and more than 200 military sections of civilian cemeteries completely restored. Promoted by several voluntary associations and French departments, one government-backed project was presented to UNESCO with a view to World War I Western Front burial and memorial sites being granted world heritage status. (...)