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Official speeches and statements - June 18, 2020

Published on June 18, 2020

1. Libya - Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman (Paris - June 17, 2020)

The main obstacle to the establishment of peace and stability in Libya now lies in the systematic violation of the UN arms embargo, notably by Turkey, despite the commitments made in Berlin at the beginning of the year.

France is not taking sides in Libya and has always said that there can be no military solution to this conflict. Over the last few weeks, it has been working toward relaunching negotiations in order to swiftly conclude a ceasefire agreement under UN auspices, within the framework laid down in Berlin. Turkey’s support for the ongoing offensive by the Government of National Accord runs directly counter to the efforts - in which we are involved - to bring about an immediate truce. This support is coupled with the hostile and unacceptable behavior of Turkey’s naval forces toward NATO allies aimed at impeding efforts to implement the UN arms embargo.

This behavior, like all foreign interference in the Libyan conflict, must stop.

2. Digital diplomacy - Launch of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence by 15 founding members - Communiqué issued by the Office of the Minister of State for the Digital Sector (Paris - June 15, 2020)

Canada and France are uniting with Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union to create the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI).

Aware of the need for cooperation at international level to exploit the full potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and make it benefit all citizens while respecting democratic values and the primacy of the human being, the 15 founding members intend to support and guide the responsible development of an artificial intelligence that is grounded in human rights, inclusion and diversity, while fostering innovation and economic growth.

GPAI (Global Partnership on AI) is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative to guide the responsible development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth. In order to achieve this goal, the member countries will strive to bridge the gap between theory and practice by supporting cutting-edge research and applied activities on AI-related priorities.

In collaboration with partners and international organizations, GPAI will bring together leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia to collaborate across four Working Group themes: 1) responsible AI; 2) data governance; 3) the future of work; and 4) innovation and commercialization. In the short term, GPAI’s experts will also investigate how AI can be leveraged to better respond to and recover from COVID-19.

GPAI will be supported by a Secretariat, to be hosted by the OECD in Paris, as well as by two Centres of Expertise - one each in Montreal and Paris. The relationship with the OECD will bring strong synergies between GPAI’s scientific and technical work and the international policy leadership provided by the OECD in terms of public policy linked to AI. This will guarantee that policies aimed at the responsible use of AI will be grounded in facts.

The National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (INRIA) will pilot the Centre of Expertise in Paris. Centres of expertise will provide administrative and research support for practical projects undertaken or assessed by different working group experts from various sectors and disciplines. The centers will also organize the annual GPAI Multistakeholder Experts Group Plenary. Canada will host the first of these in December 2020.

This collective launch crowns two years of intense, joint work by France and Canada’s digital diplomacies, following the appeal issued by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Canada-France Statement on Artificial Intelligence of June 2018.

Conducted by Cédric O, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ strong support, the negotiations enabled an important coalition of countries to be brought together. Twelve other countries have already joined the initiative, in addition to Canada and France, as has the European Union, as founding members. The OECD and UNESCO are also involved. GPAI is set to be broadened to include other willing States in the near future.

Cédric O said: “The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence embodies a great collective transnational drive which France is proud to have initiated with Canada. Bringing together 15 founding members today, the project combines confidence in the contribution AI can make to respond to the planet’s major challenges with a desire to guide and regulate the uses of technology, in keeping with our values.".

3. United Nations - Briefing by the High Commissioner for Refugees - Statement in national capacity by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - June 18, 2020)

First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the UNHCR personnel for their outstanding work to protect refugees and defend their rights. You know the commitment of France to the unconditional respect for the right to asylum.

As you reminded us, Mr. High Commissioner, the number of persons forced into exile or refugees has never been so high. I am thinking in particular about the Sahel, and notably Burkina Faso, where the number of internally displaced persons has more than quadrupled in less than a year.

A sharing of responsibilities in a spirit of solidarity must be the guiding principle of our action. Hosting refugees is not only an international obligation, but also a moral duty. It is the responsibility of States to protect on their territory foreign nationals who have fled their country due to persecutions. Only a global and collective approach will allow to improve the overall care of refugees, lead to a better management of migration flows, and fight effectively against migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

That is why the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees is a priority. France is actively working towards the implementation of its commitments taken at the Global Refugee Forum, notably regarding resettlement, with 10,000 places for 2020-2021, legal cooperation and the inclusion of climate and environmental criteria in its Humanitarian Strategy. We call on all States to step up their efforts.

Refugees and displaced persons are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to the suspension of asylum procedures in many countries, an accelerated pace of returns even if the conditions were not fulfilled, and an increased stigmatization. Refugees are also highly exposed to the socio-economic impact of this crisis. We must be vigilant and integrate refugees and displaced persons in national and international strategies to respond to the pandemic.

It is up to the Security Council to create the conditions of a lasting solution to crises. Insecurity and massive violations of Human Rights are the first causes of displacements. When it comes to Syria, Venezuela, Libya or Myanmar: only political solutions will allow a long-lasting stabilization of these countries and address the challenges due to displacements of populations.

Lastly, we will not compromise on the fundamental principles regarding the return of refugees: returns must be voluntary, in safe and dignified conditions.