Official speeches and statements - November 20, 2019
THE SPOKESPERSON - The Israeli settlement policy in the Occupied Territories is illegal under international law, especially international humanitarian law, and runs counter to Security Council resolutions. Settlements also contribute to heightening tensions on the ground and undermine the two-state solution.
This is France’s unwavering position. We regret any decision liable to encourage continued settlement activity.
Q - What’s your response to the US announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements contrary to international law?
I refer you to my statement. (...)
Q. - Do you believe that the nuclear agreement is in a state of brain death following the US decision to end the waiver for the Fordow plant and in the wake of the latest Iranian violation, which exceeds the limit on Iran’s stock of heavy water?
THE SPOKESPERSON - France is extremely concerned by Iran’s failure to comply with its nuclear obligations, which could have serious consequences for proliferation.
Iran’s resumption of its enrichment activities at the Fordow site, with potentially serious consequences in terms of proliferation, is another measure that attests to a regrettable acceleration in Iran’s disengagement from the Vienna agreement.
We also regret the US decision, following Iran’s resumption of enrichment at the Fordow site, to end the waiver that was intended to facilitate civil projects at the site.
Preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) directly contributes to peace and international security and to regional stability. France therefore intends to pursue its efforts - in close cooperation with its partners - to support the agreement and establish conditions to facilitate a de-escalation in tensions. France calls on Iran to comply fully with the agreement without delay. (...)
At the summit in London, France will argue for a genuine discussion to be embarked on about the Alliance’s future. NATO must be a mutually-supportive and responsible alliance in which every member, in particular the Europeans, contributes credibly to the defence effort. France doesn’t wish to weaken NATO, because it is and remains a key element of European security. There will be no European defense without NATO, and vice versa!
When the French President mentioned NATO’s brain death, it didn’t mean NATO’s [actual] death.
It meant no one can ignore the crisis the organization is going through.
At strictly military level, things are working: NATO is a robust tool that enables us to plan, standardize and interoperate. But it mustn’t conceal the essential thing: there’s serious doubt about the American security guarantee and therefore about Article 5 of the treaty; there are also profound questions about allied solidarity, when the Turks attack the people who are combating Daesh [so-called ISIL]; finally, as you said, there’s a glaring lack of defense efforts by the Europeans, yet they should be forming their own pillar within the Alliance.
We can’t make do with this situation. The President’s wish is to sound the alarm on the eve of the London summit: NATO is the cornerstone of European defense and security, but it must adapt, profoundly.
The Head of State has spoken about this to the United States President, with whom common ground exists; they’ve agreed to meet again before the London summit.
NATO has already experienced a number of crises, and we mustn’t feel sorry for ourselves because of it; on the contrary, it’s healthy for an organization to rethink itself. What we’re proposing is to embark on a genuine strategic discussion with the allies on the Alliance’s future and the strength of our commitments within it. We’ll soon be making some specific suggestions to this effect.
Madam Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, dear Adela,
Madam Assistant Secretary general,
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger
I’d like first to pay tribute to the women and girls in Afghanistan who have been extraordinary resilient in face of extreme violence and extreme inequality. They could not have a better Representative than you, dear Adela, here, to make sure the world does not forget to preserve and defend their hard-won rights, as Baroness Hodgson emphasized. I also fully agree that working for the empowerment of women and girls in Afghanistan is emblematic of the fight for women’s empowerment worldwide, in particular in situations of conflict and in the context of peace negotiations and processes.
There are at least two reasons, I think, for France to be part of this group: France is a long-standing friend of Afghanistan and we are also a very strong promoter and supporter of a feminist foreign policy. In this regard, we will host the Forum Generation Equality next July to celebrate the anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, Beijing +25, which also coincides with other anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the Agenda Women, Peace and Security.
As has been said by everyone, we are all here to highlight the essential role that the women of Afghanistan have in building peace in their own country. The fundamental point is that for women to be the empowered and for women to secure their rights, they first need to have a seat at the negotiating table. They first have to be part of the decision making. That’s really the crux of the matter as Madam Madeleine Rees explained very well. And Madam Kakar explained to us that some progress has been made in this regard as in Doha we had the active participation of a delegation of Afghan women. But more can and needs to be done. Women must be sitting at the decision making table for the long run, and they should probably sit at both sides of the table. I’d be interested in your views about the possibility of having women in the Taliban delegation at these talks. The Ambassador of Ireland rightfully emphasized that the participation of women in elections must be encouraged. And that means also that we need to provide them with protection and financial and practical help. I think we all have to stand by the side of those women who can make the difference, who can bring change to Afghanistan and this is where I see the added value of this Group of Friends. It’s within this perspective that my country, France, has welcomed last June in Paris a delegation of high profile women from Afghanistan and we really remain committed to continuing helping them. I think our group can also organize peer to peer support.
In terms of raising awareness and working with the media, we can also organize activities in this regard. Last week, there was the French cinema week and in this framework we screened a movie called "the Swallows of Kabul" that is a powerful reminder of the violations of the rights of women that happened under the Taliban regime. We could do similar activities to raise awareness here, in the world of the UN, and beyond, in the city of New York, and hopefully reaching out to larger audiences.
And finally, to conclude, I think our group can provide useful encouragement to the authorities of Afghanistan and to UNAMA for the full implementation of the National Action plan of Afghanistan, with regard to the Agenda Women, Peace and Security. We can provide leverage, so that these priorities remain on top of the Agenda at the Security Council.