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Official speeches and statements - June 30, 2020

Published on June 30, 2020

1. United Kingdom - Brexit/residence rights - Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a written question in the National Assembly (Paris - June 16, 2020)

The withdrawal agreement protects EU citizens living in the United Kingdom and UK nationals living in one of the 27 EU member States at the end of the transition period. Among other things, it provides for rights linked to residence, based on conditions identical to those set out in the directive on free movement in the EU (Directive 2004/38/EC). In accordance with the withdrawal agreement, France pledged to protect the rights of British nationals currently living on its territory or wishing to settle here before the end of the transition period (at this stage, on December 31, 2020). Depending on their situation, these nationals will obtain either a permanent residence permit (if they settled in France before December 31, 2020 and have proof of having lived lawfully on French territory for five years) or a document valid for one to five years (if they settled in France before December 31, 2020 and have been on French territory for under five years). Members of their family will also be able to have access to a residence permit. The situation of British nationals wishing to pay short visits to France following the transition period, for example to travel to their second home if they live mainly in the UK, does not fall under the withdrawal agreement but under the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is currently being negotiated. If no agreement comes into force following the transition period, their situation will be covered by a regulation adopted at European Union level which stipulates that British travelers will be exempted from short-stay visas (under three months), provided the UK reciprocally grants all EU citizens exemptions from short-stay visas. For visits longer than three months, British citizens will, however, have to possess long-stay visas.

2. United Nations - Syria (humanitarian) - Briefing of the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria - Statement in national capacity by permanent representative of France to the united Nations - Security Council (New York - June 29, 2020)

First of all many thanks to Mr. Lowcock and Mrs. Sirkin for their presentations.

As you reminded us, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis resulting from corruption and a disastrous management, humanitarian needs have been steadily increasing in a country where more than 11 million persons depend on humanitarian aid.

Only a nationwide, immediate and sustainable ceasefire, under the auspices of the United Nations, will allow the protection of the civilian population. This is essential as the truce between Russia and Turkey in the North-West remains fragile.

We will never say it often enough: respect for international humanitarian law is an obligation for all parties. I am thinking in particular about the protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel and their infrastructures. In this regard, we deeply regret Russia’s decision to withdraw from the deconfliction mechanism.

All parties, in particular the Syrian regime, must ensure a humanitarian access. The crossborder humanitarian mechanism has never been so indispensable, both in the North-West and in the North-East. Crossline aid is largely insufficient to respond to the needs. In any case, it does not offer all necessary guarantees regarding transparency and impartiality. A renewal for twelve months of the crossborder mechanism, as requested by the Secretary General, is essential. France fully supports the draft resolution elaborated by Germany and Belgium, including notably the reopening for a first period of six months of al Yaroubiyah crossing point, which fully responds to these humanitarian imperatives. I call on Council members to show unity and responsibility. Instrumentalization of humanitarian aid must stop. The Syrian population must not become hostage to this. The EU and its Member States are the main contributors of humanitarian aid, regardless of the beneficiaries, with more than 18 billion euros allocated to the Syrian people since 2011. The Brussels IV conference will confirm it again.

In addition, France will continue to strongly support all efforts aiming at preventing and punishing violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law.

Lastly, only a political solution in accordance with the 2254 Security Council resolution will allow to bring an end to the humanitarian tragedy and to bring long-term stability to the country. Today, our collective priority must be to address the emergencies and to respond to the huge humanitarian needs in Syria, before considering any development activity. We contribute to that everywhere in Syria. Until a credible political process is not firmly under way, France and the EU will not finance reconstruction in Syria. You know our positions on the lifting of sanctions and on normalization, which remain unchanged.