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Official speeches and statements - May 2, 2019

Published on May 2, 2019

1. United Nations - Remarks by Ambassador François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of March, at his joint press conference with Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of April (excerpts) (New York - April 30, 2019)

Bonjour à tous,
good evening everyone.

I can only agree with each and every word that my colleague and friend Christoph said and you can feel the personal chemistry among us. Our friendship really played a role in the success of our joint—twinned as we say—presidencies.

These two joint presidencies represented an important and actually unprecedented opportunity to highlight the French-German cooperation here at the United Nations, to give it a boost so to speak; to promote a stronger European voice as well as European core values here in the world of the UN, number two; and, number three, to show our strong support to multilateralism, as embodied by the UN, at a time when it is both more threatened and more important than ever. I believe this is what the Franco-German, German-French twinned presidencies are all about in a nutshell. And the joint presence of the French and German Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas, during 4 days here in New York, was the high point of these twinned presidencies.

In agreement with Christoph, I would make a very positive assessment of these two months, both in terms of our achievements and with respect to the partnership between our two countries. This is, in my views, the French-German partnership at its best. And our teams have also developed a friendship, a habit to work together literally night and day that is unprecedented.

In terms of our achievements, I believe we were able to fulfill together the main goals that we set up together. Let me give you a few illustrations.

  • France and Germany worked and carried forward together very important topics, in line with the European values I was referring to: protection of humanitarian and medical personnel; respect and strengthening of international humanitarian law; protection of women’s rights : I believe our two presidencies will leave an important mark in this field.
  • Secondly, during these two months the Security Council adopted several important resolutions. The renewal of MONUSCO’s mandate in the DRC, for instance, was an important negotiation and text; let me also underscore the importance of the first ever global resolution fighting the financing of terrorism, which was adopted in March and truly is a landmark resolution in the fight against terrorism.
  • We also had an important focus on Mali and the Sahel region in March, with a mission of the Security Council that we both co-led together with our friend from Cote d’Ivoire. We had in the follow up of this mission a ministerial meeting here in New York which allowed us to have a better understanding of the challenges but also a crucial exchange on the future of the international presence in the region of the Sahel, which is now better identified as a common priority for the Security Council I believe.
  • The European dimension that you underscored Christoph was also present, with an important meeting on Ukraine,briefings to the Security Council from the High Representative Federica Mogherini and also of the Chairperson of OSCE, our friend Miroslav Lajčák.
  • We also brought some innovations to the work of the Security Council. I would mention for instance the informal meeting of the Council on the Middle East that we had in March, addressing cross-cutting trends and root causes of conflict, and trying to build consensus on the importance of an enhanced regional cooperation in the Middle East. This was behind closed doors because we wanted each and every country at the table to break out from their auto pilot, which is something I always want to achieve at the Council in order to look for convergences among us. And this meeting allowed us to do just that. In this respect I believe it was an important and promising meeting, that can be an inspiration for the future.
  • Last but not least, our joint presidencies are an act of faith in the UN, in multilateralism, at a time when it is more needed than ever, but also under threat. Our two Ministers of Foreign Affairs emphasized this point in particular when they together came to New York a few weeks ago, at the end of March and the beginning of April. And this is the very spirit of the Alliance for Multilateralism that our two Ministers presented on this occasion.

So I think these two months have been a unique experience, driven by a strong will of our political authorities, translated into close day to day trustful partnership between our two teams. I hope this is not the end of the story. I hope these joint presidencies, beyond being a unique experience, will inspire others to commit themselves to partnering together and in so doing serving a stronger, more efficient and also more creative multilateralism because I believe that’s what we need more than ever in today’s world.

Q - Mr. Pedersen talked about the necessity of international support to this mission and maybe to create a new platform or a new group, does Germany and France believe that they can be part of "such group" and do you both believe that it is now time for creating such a platform?

A - On Syria we believe that there are two mistakes that should be avoided: number one, to consider that the war is over, which is not the case in our views, especially because of the situation in Idlib. And the second mistake would be to consider that there is nothing to be done, that the political process is out of reach. These would be I believe two strategic mistakes at this critical juncture in Syria. That is why we strongly—the whole Security Council—support Geir Pedersen’s efforts to move forward in terms of implementation of all the elements of Res. 2254. I think this is the important point. We believe that an agreement on the constitutional committee is not mission impossible, it’s doable with some efforts. We also believe that we have to work on the other key aspect of Res. 2254, like confidence-building measures with respect to the detainees for example and the ceasefire, which is a condition for progress on the political front. So to answer your question, I think it was an important meeting. I think Geir Pedersen, other the last months—he started four months ago if I’m not mistaken—has achieved already a lot behind the scene, which is wise from him. And now is the time for the Security Council to leave our auto-pilot, to find some convergences and to find the way toward a credible political process.

Q - Ambassadors, a propos of the question of your joint presidencies, we know that there are all kind of proposals for expanding or limiting the Security Council. I was just wondering, à propos of your twinned presidencies, I mean you have alluded to it, but do you think it lends fuel to the fire for those who believe that there should be only one EU seat?

A - I completely agree with Christoph and I would only add that in terms of policy, France and Germany are committed to working together to enlarge the Security Council (...), which we consider absolutely needed to better reflect the world as it is, there is no question about it. In this respect, France considers that Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and a fair representation of Africa are absolutely needed at the table in order to get a fair representation of the Security Council. So this is for us a high priority. And to speak a bit more broadly in response to your question, when we, Germany and France, together launched this Alliance for Multilateralism, it means that we strongly believe in the UN as the core of today’s global governance, it means that we strongly believe in multilateralism, but it also means that we are actively working to reform, in some respect to re-found, to re-invent multilateralism, so that it is really efficient for the decades to come.

(Mr. Delattre spoke in English.)