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Official speeches and statements - June 26, 2019

Published on June 26, 2019

1. United Nations - Group of friends of victims of terrorism - Statement by the deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations (New York - June 25, 2019)

Mr. Secretary General,
Mr. Under-Secretary General Voronkov,
Dear colleagues,

I first really want to start by commanding Afghanistan and Spain for their long standing commitment to the support of victims of terrorism and for taking the initiative of launching this group of Friends. France is very honored to be one of the founding members.

As you know, for us, support to victims of terrorism is a major priority because as many others in this room, my country has had the very difficult experience of too many terrorist attacks in the past few years.

1/- As groups of Friends are very good places where to learn from each other and to support each other, I would like to start by sharing a few elements of information about the French experience in supporting victims of terrorism, and then by sharing a few thoughts about what our group of Friends could do. In France, the way we have organized the support for victims of terrorism is first a dedicated inter-agency unit which is in charge of overseeing the support to victims. This unit is also a focal point for various ministries, and this is important, for civil society and the associations of victims.

Then, some of other the measures that we have taken at the national level include: a wide system of reparation which has been in place for a very long time now, since 1986 through a special Fund which is a fund of guarantee to victims of acts of terrorism and other violations. Most recently, we have created a national center of resources and resilience led by a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and researchers to identify good practices in the management of psycho-social traumas. Two years ago, in 2017, we signed a framework agreement with our national employment agency to strengthen the support to victims of terrorism who are seeking to find work or to benefit from trainings. In order to make the information about the support more easily available, we have also set up and updated a website, and support committees have also been developed at the local level with points of contact at the governorate level so to speak, at each prefecture.

But we also are very aware that we need to constantly improve so we are looking at ways on how to improve our system of support: in particular with regard to the judiciary (Juge de l’indemnisation des victimes d’actes de terrorisme) and so a new function should be created in the judiciary with regard to the specific issue of reparation to the victims of acts of terrorism; this way a judge could better review the litigation related to reparations of victims. On a more symbolic level but important as well, we will observe for the first time a national day of tribute and remembrance of victims of terrorism, on March 11, 2020 (which is the same day as the one celebrated in Europe in reference to the Madrid attacks of March 11,2004) ; and finally, President Macron has recently announced that a memorial museum in tribute to the victims of terrorism will be created in the coming years. This was to give you a number of examples of what we are doing and to illustrate how it is a really strong national priority.

2/- This takes me to the second point I wanted to share with you, how our Group of Friends could contribute to greater awareness raising on this issue and to making sure that victims are better heard. We believe this group will be an appropriate venue to share experiences and good practices that have been put in place at the national level but maybe also at the regional level - the European union in the case of France. The group could also promote events aimed at raising awareness on the need to continuously improve our support to victims.

As you may have heard, France, Belgium, the UK, Spain and the EU, have co-organized last week, with the support of UNOCT and CTED, an event on this issue, part of it was a screening of a documentary on the Paris attacks, in the presence of one of the survivors - her name is Marie. I think this movie on the Bataclan attack was a very powerful event which has reminded us of the human dimension of our work on counter-terrorism. During that event, this survivor, Marie, also said that she thought it would be important to send of strong and stronger signals of support to victims at the international level. This is one of the reasons why we are very supportive of your initiative, Mr. Voronkov, to gather the first ever Congress of victims of terrorism next year in June 2020. We look forward to hearing more about it and how we can all contribute to the success of this new event.

Thank you.


2. Crisis in the Gulf - Iran/Yemen - Reply by Mr. Marc Fesneau, Minister for Relations with Parliament, attached to the Prime Minister, to a question in the Senate (Paris - June 20, 2019)

IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Regarding the first part of your question, protecting the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in 2015 is in the security interests of France, Europe and the world. This strong belief has guided our action throughout recent months, despite the American withdrawal more than a year ago now.

We’ve recently witnessed an increase in tension and provocations in the waters of the Persian Gulf and beyond. The latest incidents involving oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are helping fuel already strong tension; full light must be shed on these events. It’s important to avoid an uncontrolled escalation and to prioritize dialogue in order to reduce the tension.

The priority is for Iran to remain a party to the nuclear deal; that’s also what the French President reiterated to the United States President during the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. All the government’s efforts are geared to that.

In view of this, Iran must comply with its obligations and the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, must continue to verify this. Iran must be able to benefit from the Vienna agreement, as the latter provides for. All the parties must seek the path to de-escalation through discreet, modest gestures: the government is working in that direction.

YEMEN CONFLICT

Regarding the second part of your question, the Yemeni people are indeed undergoing a terrible humanitarian crisis in that conflict, which has gone on for too long. The talks held in Sweden in December under the aegis of the United Nations enabled the prospect of peace to emerge for the first time in years. Their results have been endorsed by the Security Council. A United Nations observation mission has been deployed on the ground in the coastal city of Hudaydah. In that city and around it, the parties are observing a ceasefire, which is being relatively well complied with. The United Nations’ mediation through the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is seeking to secure a comprehensive agreement bringing together the Yemeni parties.

France is working to ensure these peace efforts are concluded, with the Yemeni government and the Houthis, the Arab countries and Iran. In this crisis, we’re talking to all those involved, without exceptions and without being naïve; given our international responsibilities, we’re being especially vigilant about this.

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