Official speeches and statements - March 2, 2020
1. Syria - Greece - European Union - Conversation between M.. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Greek foreign minister, Mr. Níkos Déndias, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell - Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - March 2, 2020)
Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, spoke in the evening of Sunday 1 March to his Greek counterpart, Mr. Níkos Déndias, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell. He recalled the appeal by 14 foreign ministers from European Union member countries for the immediate cessation of the hostilities by the Syrian regime and its allies in Idlib, to end the disastrous deterioration of the humanitarian situation and the large-scale violations of international humanitarian law. He reiterated in the strongest terms his condemnation of this offensive by the Syrian regime and its - particularly Russian - supporters, and of the attacks on Turkish forces in the area.
In this context, the Minister expressed France’s full and wholehearted solidarity with Greece, which is undergoing increased migratory pressure at its maritime and land borders. He also voiced support for Greece’s request to the European Union’s High Representative for an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council to be organized in the next few days to set out a common position and joint actions by the member countries in the face of this new crisis situation.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom express their full solidarity with all impacted by COVID-19 in Iran. We are offering Iran a comprehensive package of both material and financial support to combat the rapid spread of the disease.
The material will be transported urgently by plane March 2 and will include equipment for laboratory tests, as well as other equipment, including protective body suits and gloves.
The E3 has also committed to providing urgent additional financial support close to €5M to fight the COVID-19 epidemic affecting Iran, through the WHO or other UN agencies.
We will continue to support global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. Our support is directed to help the most vulnerable across the globe.
I deliver this statement on behalf of the four EU Members of the Security Council: Estonia, Belgium, France, and Germany, and Poland as a former EU member to the Council:
The military escalation in Idlib must stop. It must stop now. We strongly condemn yesterday’s attacks against Turkish forces operating in Idlib, and reiterate our solidarity with Turkey. We offer our condolences for the death of Turkish soldiers.
These attacks further show, that the Syrian regime, assisted and politically backed by Russia, continues its military strategy at any cost, ignoring the consequences of its actions against civilians.
We demand an end to this Syrian military campaign supported by Russia, and fully back the calls made by the UN Secretary-General for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access. We call on the Syrian regime as well as on Russia to fully respect International Humanitarian Law. We strongly urge the UN to accelerate and intensify their engagements with all relevant parties to secure an immediate ceasefire effort in northwest Syria.
More than 900 000 people have been displaced and at least three hundred have died in the past three months. As we have heard during recent briefings, millions of civilians in the Idlib province remain threatened by the lack of water, food, and proper healthcare.
European Union and its Member States are the largest donors in support of the Syrian population. We will keep coordinating with Turkey and other neighbors of Syria to sustain and expand our collective efforts reacting to the developing crisis in Idlib. We reiterate that there will be no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and our support to a political solution based on all elements of resolution 2254 under the UN auspices.