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Official speeches and statements - January 3, 2020

Published on January 3, 2020

1. Russia - Conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - January 3, 2020)

The French President spoke on the telephone to Russian President Vladimir Putin this morning.

The two presidents first took stock of the situation in Iraq and the region. They agreed to remain in close contact over the coming days to prevent a new and dangerous escalation of tensions and call on all the parties to show restraint. The French President reiterated France’s commitment to Iraq’s sovereignty and security and to the region’s stability. He emphasized the need for the guarantors of the 2015 agreement to remain closely coordinated in calling on Iran to return swiftly to full compliance with its nuclear obligations and refrain from any provocation. The French President stressed that the fight against Islamist terrorism is still the priority, and he reaffirmed his full commitment to the International Coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL].

On Syria, the French President expressed his deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Idlib. He stressed the imperative need for all the Security Council’s member states to shoulder their responsibilities to ensure that the United Nations can address civilians’ needs by maintaining cross-border aid. The two presidents confirmed their shared desire to reach an agreement to this effect at the United Nations Security Council by January 10, 2020.

On the Russia-Ukraine crisis, President Macron once again welcomed the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine on 29 December, in accordance with the commitments made at the Paris summit in the Normandy format on 9 December. He stressed the need for all the measures officially endorsed at the summit to be implemented swiftly, particularly those on the political and security conditions with a view to organizing local elections.

On Libya, President Macron highlighted the risk of escalation linked to the increase in foreign military interference, and the need to consolidate international consensus at the Berlin conference with a view to finding a way out of the crisis through a return to the political process under the aegis of the United Nations. In this context, the President clearly condemned the maritime and security agreements recently signed by the GNA and all the decisions leading to an escalation. The President confirmed, in his view, the importance of inter-Libyan dialogue and a political process involving the regional players, and all Libya’s political stakeholders in particular.

2. United States of America - Telephone conversation between Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and foreign affairs, and Mr. Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State - Communiqué issued by the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs (Paris - January 3, 2020)

Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke by phone with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, following the latest developments in Iraq, specifically the actions undertaken overnight.

President Macron and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs will speak in the coming hours with all of their regional and international partners on this subject.

The minister underscored France’s concern over the rise in tensions in the Middle East over the past several months, with a sudden escalation in Iraq in recent weeks.

For France and all of its partners, every effort must now be made to avoid a further escalation of tensions and to facilitate de-escalation in order to preserve the stability of Iraq and the region as a whole.

In the current situation, France calls on all the parties to show restraint and on Iran to avoid taking any measures liable to aggravate regional instability or lead to a serious nuclear proliferation crisis. The parties to the Vienna agreement in particular must continue their close coordination and urge Iran to promptly resume full compliance with its nuclear obligations and refrain from any further contrary action.

The priority must be to continue the actions of the international Coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL], which is operating in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi authorities and in support of Iraqi security forces. The Coalition’s continuity is essential to preserving the achievements of five years of combat against Daesh and guaranteeing a lasting victory against terrorism throughout the entire region.

3. United Nations - Humanitarian situation in Syria / Situation in Baghdad - Remarks to the press by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations (New York - January 3, 2020)

We will have a session on Idlib now, because the UK and France asked for this session. First, the situation in Idlib is deteriorating day after day, despite all the commitments which have been taken by some of the main stakeholders in the recent months. So we need to take stock on where we are. The situation is really bad.

Second, we formally condemn indiscriminate air bombing by the regime and its allies. It’s targeting civilian facilities, schools, hospitals, and it should stop.

And third, humanitarian access must be preserved in this part of Syria, but also in the rest of Syria, in the North East as well. In the region of Idlib we have around 300 000 people who need humanitarian relief. We need humanitarian relief in the rest of Syria as well, and this is why in the days to come we really hope that the Council can unite and make sure that cross border humanitarian relief is provided to the Syrian people.

Q - Can we ask you about the attack in Baghdad? What is France’s reaction? Is this a violation of the Charter?

We will just call for de-escalation, this is what we need now. We need de-escalation. We need stability in the region and we will really encourage everybody to work on de-escalation.

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