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Official speeches and statements - July 21, 2020

Published on July 21, 2020

1. Libya - Joint communiqué issued by Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, Ms. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and Mr. Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of Italy (Brussels - July 18, 2020)

We met today in Brussels in the margins of the European Council to discuss the situation in Libya. We share grave concerns regarding the increased military tensions in this country and the heightened risk of regional escalation. We therefore call on all Libyan parties and their foreign supporters for an immediate cessation of fighting and for a stop of the ongoing military build-up throughout the country.

We also urge all foreign actors to end their increasing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council. We are doing our part and are committed to the full effectiveness of the IRINI operation, with the aim of preventing escalation on the ground. We are ready to consider the possible use of sanctions should breaches to the embargo at sea, on land or in the air continue and look forward to the proposals the EU HR/VP will make to this end.

We support the UN efforts to enable the signature of a sustainable and credible ceasefire agreement through ongoing negotiations within the 5+5 Committee. At this juncture we also encourage the UN to explore all options for de-escalating tensions, including the options of an expanded disengagement of forces and potential demilitarization of certain areas. We reaffirm the need for the rapid appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General.

We recall all Libyan and international parties that a negotiated political settlement of the Libyan crisis must be fully inclusive and based on the conclusions of the Berlin conference. We also recall that promptly lifting the oil blockade is necessary as well as ensuring a fair and transparent allocation of oil revenues to the benefit of all Libyans.


2. Foreign trade - European Union-China: Council authorizes signature of the agreement on geographical indications (Brussels - July 20, 2020)

The Council today adopted decisions on the signature of the agreement between the European Union and the government of the People’s Republic of China on geographical indications (GIs).

This is the first significant bilateral trade agreement signed between the EU and China.

It will ensure that 100 EU agri-food GIs ("Geographical Indications") such as Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Languedoc wine, Polska Wodka or Elia Kalamatas get protection on the Chinese market. Likewise, 100 Chinese products will be protected in the EU, thereby ensuring mutual respect of the best of both agricultural traditions.

Four years after its entry into force, the scope of the agreement will expand to cover an additional 175 GI names from both sides. The agreement also includes a mechanism to add more geographical indications thereafter.

Background and process

A GI is a distinctive sign used on products that have a specific geographic origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. The EU-China agreement will therefore provide an important protection of the products’ intellectual property rights: it will safeguard against translation, transcription or transliteration, and against the use of the protected geographical indications accompanied by expressions such as "kind", "type", "style", "imitation" or the like in respect of a non-originating product.

GIs have also proven to be a useful marketing tool, helping to ensure higher and more stable export revenues for producers: according to a study commissioned by the Commission in 2013, a geographical indication product sells on average for more than twice the price of a similar non-geographical indication product. Moreover, China is a high-growth potential market for European food and drinks. This agreement will therefore benefit European producers and should be a boost to rural areas where these products are made.

The geographical indications will co-exist with the legitimate earlier trademarks of which the vast majority belong to the legitimate owners of Europe.

On 10 September 2010 the Council authorized the opening of negotiations on an agreement on GIs with China.

The date and place for the signature of the agreement has not been set yet. Once signed, the agreement will then need to receive the consent of the European Parliament before it can be concluded and enter into force.

[Source of English text: European Council website]


3. United Nations - Situation in the Middle East - Statement by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - July 21, 2020)

[Translation from French]

I thank the Special Coordinator and Mr Levy and Mr. Shikaki for their briefings. France supports the EU’s intervention, which will be communicated later.

Because it engages the stability of the region, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a subject of prime importance. The parameters of its settlement are well-known: two States, living in peace and security, along secure and recognized borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States. It is a question of law but also of pragmatism: only the two-state solution will respond to the aspirations of the Palestinians and guarantee Israel’s security, with which France will never compromise.

In this context, France reiterates its appeal to Israel to abandon any plan to annex parts of the West Bank, whatever the perimeter.

As the overwhelming majority of this Council recalled last month, any annexation would constitute a clear violation of international law. It would be a flagrant violation of the international order whose rules we have together established, starting with the Charter of this Organization, which establishes the principle of non-acquisition of territory by force.

Any annexation of territory would also deal an irreversible blow to the peace process, as well as to the two-State solution. It would strengthen the enemies of peace, to the detriment of efforts to achieve regional peace and of Israel’s security. Annexation would not be in the interest of either Israelis or Palestinians.

France will not recognize any modification of the June 1967 lines, except those agreed by both parties, in accordance with international law, the resolutions of this Council and the internationally agreed parameters on which the two-State solution is based.

As the EU High Representative has said, any annexation decision would have consequences for the European Union’s relationship with Israel. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian also indicated that such a decision could not go unanswered in view of its seriousness.

It is therefore the responsibility of this Council to remain mobilized to prevent any such decision.

France also expresses its deep concern about the continuing colonization, in violation of international law.

In particular, it calls on Israel to put an end to the expansion of settlements in Givaat Hamatos and in the "E1" area, which are particularly sensitive to the viability of the two-State solution. The planned opening of the bidding procedure for the construction of more than 1,000 housing units in Givat Hamatos and the continuation of the procedure for the construction of 3,500 housing units in the "E1" zone are worrying in this regard.

France is also concerned about the continuing demolitions, confiscations and evictions in zone C and East Jerusalem, despite the fact that the Israeli authorities committed themselves to suspend demolitions due to COVID.

France, together with its partners, in particular Arab and European partners, are determined to continue to work towards the resumption of credible and ambitious negotiations between the parties, based on international law, the resolutions of this Council and internationally agreed parameters.

It is up to the parties, with the support of the international community, to negotiate the concessions necessary to move forward on the path to peace. The conflict will not be resolved through unilateral decisions. The path to peace will be long and difficult and will require courageous political decisions. Progress towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation would be an important step in that direction.

France is ready to play its full part in this process, in conjunction with its Arab and European partners. On July 7, 2020, the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Egypt and Jordan jointly reiterated the importance of resuming a fruitful dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian parties. They also offered their support to facilitate progress in the negotiations.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm France’s full support for UNRWA and to call for a surge of mobilization to enable the Office to overcome its financial crisis and to continue to implement its full mandate.

Thank you.

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