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Official speeches and statements - February 28, 2020

Published on February 28, 2020

1. Turkey - Statement issued by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - February 28, 2020)

I spoke this afternoon with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I offered him France’s condolences and support for Turkey in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack on Turkish forces in northwestern Syria. I condemned the repeated violations by the Syrian regime and by Russia of their commitments on de-escalation in Idlib province and of international humanitarian law.

I reiterated France’s call to the Syrian regime and to Russia to end the military offensive under way in northwestern Syria, to fully abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to return to the ceasefire arrangements of fall 2018 in order to bring an immediate end to the hostilities. Russia must continue negotiations with Turkey to bring about de-escalation in Idlib and facilitate the restarting of the political process.

Lastly, I applauded the efforts by Syria’s neighbors, and Turkey in particular, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees, and I reiterated our determination to mobilize strengthened humanitarian assistance, both nationally and with the European Union and its member states.

2. United Nations - Event on Alliance for Human Rights - "Advocating Human Rights in the 21st Century - building bridges between Geneva and New York" - Statement by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations (New York - February 27, 2020)

Let me thank the Foreign Minister of Germany, Heiko Maas, and the Assistant Secretary General, Volker Türk, for their remarks and for chairing this session.

Number one, I’d like to say a word on the Alliance for multilateralism. It has been launched a year ago by France and Germany. This is a gathering of Member states wanting to preserve the collective actions and international law. The Alliance allows a flexible framework for the international efforts and supports concrete and creative initiatives in different areas, such as humanitarian law, cybersecurity or impunity. Multilateralism is also the best instrument at our disposal to ensure that the Human Rights, including climate change and gender equality, are progressing everywhere.

Number two: We welcome the launching last Monday in Geneva of the "call for action on Human Rights" by the Secretary-General, which is an important framework to deal with Human Rights within the UN. France fully supports the SG’s role in Human Rights, and the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which both play a fundamental role in ensuring respect for Human Rights. Minister Le Drian announced it in Geneva on Monday: France is running for the Human Rights Council for the 2021-2023 mandate with three priorities: gender equality; defense and promotion of press freedom and protection of journalists; and protection of Human Rights defenders.

France also wishes to promote the strengthening of the efficiency and the credibility of the Human Rights Council, and the links between Geneva and New York, as Germany is suggesting today in this room, which is an excellent initiative. In this regard, we will take our part in the process of the Treaty bodies review that should take place soon. We wish to strengthen the professionalism of committee members, and feel that a reform of the working methods is necessary, in order to reduce the workload of committees and member States.

A word also on gender equality, to support what the colleague from UN Women just said. Women’s rights are a priority for France. We will host in Paris in July the Generation Equality Forum. President Macron is 100% behind this initiative, together with the President of Mexico. We want it to be a success, we don’t want any pushback, we just want progress.

I will say the same about climate change and Human rights, this is a priority as well.

And like Foreign Minister Maas said as well, information democracy and digital challenges are a priority, it is priority for France, it is a priority for Human Rights, and on top of the list of our Alliance for multilateralism.

Thank you.

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