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Official speeches and statements - July 24, 2019

Published on July 24, 2019

1. Iran - Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - July 23, 2019)

Q. - London announced on Monday that it wanted to develop a maritime protection mission in the Gulf together with other European nations, in response to Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Does France intend to take part, and with what means, specifically?

THE SPOKESPERSON - I refer you to the Minister’s remarks to the National Assembly.

The situation in the Gulf is very concerning. Freedom of navigation is being challenged there, with the risk not only of hindering trade in that region, which is critical to the world economy, but also of fuelling an escalation of tensions, which is already under way. It is therefore the Iranian authorities’ responsibility to move forward with the release of the Stena Impero and its crew.

It is time to seek concrete solutions in order to begin the necessary de-escalation of tensions.

We are discussing a European initiative with our British and German partners, as well as several other interested partners, to expand our knowledge of the maritime situation through the deployment of appropriate surveillance methods. The purpose is to facilitate the safe passage of ships in the region. This phase should be coordinated by European countries. On the diplomatic front, we also want to create conditions for an inclusive regional dialogue on maritime security.

For us, this initiative is aimed at defusing tensions and facilitating de-escalation. It differs from the American approach of maximum pressure.

It aims to provide a response to an economic and strategic challenge that directly affects European interests. Our initiative should naturally be coordinated with the United States on the operational level.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of an international coalition to monitor the situation in the Strait of Hormuz. Is France prepared to join that coalition? Have you already received such a proposal?

I refer you to my previous reply.

Can you confirm that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi is visiting Paris? Will he see Le Drian? Macron? What message are you expecting?

I refer you once again to the Minister’s remarks to the National Assembly. (...)

2. United Nations - Middle East - Joint statement by France, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Poland and the UK (New York - July 23, 2019)

I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the five EU Members of the Security Council (Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and the UK), we are joined by Estonia as a forthcoming EU Member of the Security Council.

"We as Member States of the European Union strongly condemn the demolition by Israel of Palestinian buildings in the district of Wadi al Hummus, in the South East of Jerusalem.

We remain seriously concerned by the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolition in occupied territories is contrary to International Humanitarian Law and to UNSC resolutions. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

In this specific case, the demolitions were particularly egregious as a number of the buildings were located in Areas A and B, under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Agreements, and thus constitute a violation of those agreements. They set a dangerous precedent that directly jeopardizes the two state solution".

3. European Union - Amount of legislation of European origin - Reply by the Office of the Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a written question in the National Assembly (Paris - July 9, 2019)

Of the acts of EU secondary legislation provided for under Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, only directives should be transposed into national law. These bind member states as to the result to be achieved, while leaving national authorities to choose the appropriate methods to ensure their transposition, in an agreed period of time. On the other hand, a number of European acts have direct effect, such as European regulations, which have general application and are binding in their entirety, along with decisions. Recommendations and opinions are not binding. Generally speaking, the idea of subordination to the European Union must be ruled out in view of the French Republic’s choice, endorsed by Article 88-1 of the [French] Constitution, to participate in a European Union constituted by states which have freely chosen to exercise some of their powers in common, by virtue of the European treaties. Even more specifically, the choice was made in France, on the basis of the Constitution of October 27, 1946, then that of October 4, 1958, to incorporate international treaties directly into our national legal order. This situation explains why it is difficult to gauge the extent to which EU law has become part of our body of national law. At any rate, pursuant to Article 88-4 of the Constitution, the government shall lay before the two chambers draft proposals for legislation of the European Union which may result in parliamentary resolutions.