Official speeches and statements - January 6, 2020
1. Middle East - Turkey - Iraq - Syria - Libya - Telephone conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - January 3, 2020)
President Macron spoke this afternoon by phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The two heads of state expressed their shared concern over the rise in tensions in the Middle East following the latest events in Iraq and the need to avoid a dangerous escalation.
President Macron emphasized the priority given to the fight against Daesh [so-called ISIL] and France’s full commitment to the actions of the international coalition.
With regard to Syria, he underscored his concern over the humanitarian and security situation in Idlib, as well as France’s mobilization of all its efforts to ensure that the United Nations retains the necessary access to populations in need through cross-border assistance.
As for Libya, the President stressed the fact that there can be no military solution to the crisis and the need to avoid any escalation linked to the stepping up of foreign military interference. He emphasized the need to solidify the international consensus at the Berlin Conference in order to both achieve a credible ceasefire in Libya and end the crisis through a restoration of the political process under the auspices of the UN and through inter-Libyan dialogue.
Finally, President Macron wanted to reaffirm the European Council’s clear, unanimous condemnation of the agreement between Turkey and the GNA on the delineation of their maritime boundaries and of Turkish activities with respect to Cyprus.
2. Middle East - Iraq - Joint statement issued by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, Mrs Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and Mr. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Paris - January 6, 2020)
We have condemned the recent attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and are gravely concerned by the negative role Iran has played in the region, including through the IRGC and the Al-Qods force under the command of General Soleimani.
There is now an urgent need for de-escalation. We call on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and responsibility. The current cycle of violence in Iraq must be stopped.
We specifically call on Iran to refrain from further violent action or proliferation, and urge Iran to reverse all measures inconsistent with the JCPOA.
We recall our attachment to the sovereignty and security of Iraq. Another crisis risks jeopardizing years of efforts to stabilize Iraq.
We also reaffirm our commitment to continue the fight against Daesh [so-called ISIL], which remains a high priority. The preservation of the Coalition is key in this regard. We therefore urge the Iraqi authorities to continue providing the Coalition all the necessary support.
We stand ready to continue our engagement with all sides in order to contribute to defuse tensions and restore stability to the region.
3. Middle East - Conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - January 5, 2020)
President Macron spoke this afternoon with the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
In view of the recent rise in tensions in Iraq and in the region, President Macron emphasized his total solidarity with our allies in the face of attacks carried out over the last few weeks against Coalition premises in Iraq. He expressed his concern over the destabilizing activities of the Quds Force under the leadership of General Qassem Soleimani and reiterated the need for Iran to put an end to it and to refrain from all forms of military escalation liable to further aggravate regional instability. He stressed France’s determination to work with regional and international partners to ease tensions.
He noted that the priority must be given to continuing the International Coalition’s actions against Daesh [so-called ISIL], in full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, to ensure its security and regional stability.
4. United States - 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.
5. Middle East - Iraq - Telephone conversation between Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Mr. Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary - Statement by Mr. Le Drian (Paris - January 3, 2020)
I spoke successively this evening by phone with my counterparts, Adel al-Jubeir of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and Dominic Raab, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
In the coming days, I will continue these conversations with regional and international actors following the latest developments in Iraq.
I emphasized France’s concern over the rise in tensions in the Middle East over the past few months. I noted that we and our interlocutors see eye to eye with respect to making every necessary effort to avoid further aggravating tensions and facilitating de-escalation in order to preserve Iraq’s stability and sovereignty and the security of the region as a whole.
6. Middle East - Telephone conversation between Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Heiko Maas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, and Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China - Statement by Mr. Le Drian (Paris - January 4, 2020)
On Saturday 4 January, I spoke on the phone with my counterparts, Heiko Maas, of the Federal Republic of Germany, and Wang Yi, of the People’s Republic of China.
I reiterated France’s concern with regard to the escalation of tensions in the Gulf region in recent months. I stated that France fully shares with Germany the main goal of de-escalation and the preservation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
I was also able to verify significant convergence between France and China to step up our joint efforts to prevent an increase in tensions and to facilitate de-escalation. We specifically noted our agreement to maintain the stability and sovereignty of Iraq, and security in the region as a whole, as well as to call on Iran to refrain from further violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
7. Middle East - Iraq - Telephone conversation between Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Prime Minister of Iraq - Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - January 5, 2020)
The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi. He stressed the importance of pursuing the fight against Daesh [so-called ISIL] in Iraq and Syria as part of the Global Coalition Against Daesh, while fully respecting Iraq’s sovereignty. He and the Iraqi Prime Minister agreed to continue dialogue on this subject.
8. Foreign policy - Iran / United States - Interview given by Ms. Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to RTL (excerpts) (Paris - January 3, 2020)
Iran’s Supreme Leader has just called for revenge following General Qasem Soleimani’s death overnight. He was killed in a raid which the Americans and President Donald Trump claimed responsibility for. Does this American operation worry you?
THE MINISTER - First of all it’s the next step in an escalation which has been going on for months. So what we feared is happening, namely that you can see an increasing standoff between the United States and Iran. Today, this morning, our priority is the region’s stability. We must create the conditions to guarantee the region’s stability. This means that in the coming hours, at the highest state level—Jean-Yves Le Drian and the President—we’re going to have contacts with all the partners, all the players in the region, because there are a lot of consequences. This has consequences on peace in the region, and we know it’s quite an unstable region. It has consequences on the Coalition against Daesh [so-called ISIL], the ability we may still have in the region to combat terrorism, which is still the first threat. And it also has consequences on nuclear proliferation. As you know, we’re being hugely vigilant to prevent that continuing.
This morning does the French government—I wanted to say, does France—fear a risk of all-out war with Iran, between Iran and the United States?
You know, military escalation is always a risk. And so all the efforts which the President and Jean-Yves Le Drian and France—since you put it that way—are making in every area, in every region of the world, are to ensure we create the conditions for peace and, at any rate, stability. And so, clearly, when such actions, such operations take place, we clearly see escalation is under way, at a time when, above all, we’d like to see stability and de-escalation.
How? With what resources? Who does that mean talking to? So far President Trump himself, as we know, has shown little concern about the United Nations and, ultimately, about our ability to talk to one another. (...)
It means talking to everyone. It also means talking to the players in the Coalition; you talked about that. It means talking to all the players in the region. It means talking to everyone surrounding the region, but it therefore means, above all, ensuring we continue to act in a multilateral framework. And this, as you know, is the President’s principle. When we say France is a balancing power, it means our role isn’t to get... It doesn’t mean taking sides, it means talking to everyone and ensuring that, for the French people, we can be players who work and function for the region’s stability.
Are there decisions, or at any rate a voice to be raised, at European level?
On this issue specifically.
Well, this issue is being followed at European level and involves foreign and defence ministers; the ministers who meet talk practically every month. Obviously there will be national and European consultations and obviously on this matter, as you know, the so-called Vienna agreement, the famous JCPOA, which was the agreement against nuclear proliferation in Iran, was signed by Germany, France and the United Kingdom. So we’re going to continue taking action which is of course coordinated. It’s extremely important and ties in with the whole issue of having a sovereign Europe, a powerful Europe, and being able to create the conditions for speaking with a single, consistent and therefore powerful voice on issues such as this.
Might the [French] President be prompted to talk to the American or Iranian presidents today? At any rate, is this conceivable?
Well, as you know, the President obviously talks to everyone. He has his own priorities. Obviously on a day like today, there are going to be very many contacts with everyone. I’m not sure they’ll be public but, at any rate, you can imagine that we’re talking to everyone.
Are we waking up in a more dangerous world?
Yes, we’re waking up in a more dangerous world. Military escalation is always dangerous. It’s dangerous everywhere, it’s dangerous in all areas and that’s why France is always working for and seeking conditions for stability, and so we’re going to continue doing this. What this shows above all is that, indeed at European level, we’ve got to work multilaterally, collectively and prevent powers from subsequently playing into each other’s hands in an unpredictable way. (...)