Official speeches and statements - July 28, 2020
I’m coming to the end of my visit to Lebanon. I came here with two messages.
Firstly a message about a requirement for stringency, because this country, it has to be said, is on the brink of ruin. If efforts aren’t made, the country risks drifting off course. Everyone knows which road must be taken. There are paths to recovery. France is ready to support them, provided the political authorities take the decisions for this. I stand by this message which I conveyed yesterday to the President, Prime Minister and President of the Lebanese National Assembly.
I also conveyed a message of solidarity with the Lebanese people. I came to talk about this solidarity here only this morning. Solidarity which is reflected in direct aid to the whole Lebanese education system and particularly the French and Francophone education system, which is extremely important for this country because the country’s strength, what brings hope, is education, the thirst for learning and the capacity to be enriched by teaching. It’s this strength which, in my view, will lead Lebanon towards a new future. I return confident of having conveyed these messages, confident also that there will be the essential awareness.
Yesterday you supported Patriarch Rai’s call for Lebanon’s neutrality. Did you say that there’s no sovereignty without neutrality? Do you think this neutrality aims to exclude Hezbollah from political life, thus fulfilling the United States’ wish?
THE MINISTER - I met the Patriarch yesterday. It seemed an essential visit to me, with him being such a strong figure in the country. I heard what he said. In the end, when he talks about neutrality I believe he’s talking about positive neutrality. Positive neutrality to me means - and this is the message France repeats regularly - the distancing, sovereignty and integrity of Lebanon vis-à-vis the conflicts which exist in the region and the affirmation of the country through its integrity, strength and identity. We wholeheartedly share that message with the Patriarch.
Do you think this government can save Lebanon from the crisis and is this government Hezbollah’s government?
I was keen to meet the country’s institutional representatives only. I told these representatives how France perceives the situation and that it was essential to begin reforms, in three areas in particular.
Firstly, conclude with the IMF, which means carrying out an audit of the central bank and taking the necessary capital control measures.
The second reform concerns electricity. There’s a law dating from 2002 which is worth finally implementing. There’s a need to ensure that the regulatory authority takes the relevant action and that the way the electricity industry is run in this country is modernized and benefits from investment, but the approach first needs to be clarified.
The third reform concerns transparency in public procurement. This is the issue facing all Lebanese people, all Lebanon’s political parties and especially those who are now in charge of the country’s future.
That’s what France requires, and I think I’ve been heard. I heard President Aoun making very powerful statements about his determination to fight corruption relentlessly and I hope all those involved deliver on this.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, met today with Jürgen Stock, Secretary General of Interpol.
This meeting, which follows on from their previous exchanges, reflects the importance of the cooperation between France and Interpol and the work of this international organization, which has had its headquarters in France since its creation in 1923.
Interpol plays a fundamental and essential role in strengthening international operational cooperation in the fight against terrorism and transnational crime, which remains a priority for France’s international action.
On this basis, France intends to continue to actively support the organization’s work over the next few months, both in terms of its operation and the implementation of the priorities it has set itself, in conjunction with its member states.
On the proposal of the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic issued a decree modifying the composition of the Government:
The following have been appointed ministers of State:
Attached to the Prime Minister:
Ms. Sophie Cluzel, responsible for Disabled People;
Attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs:
Mr. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, responsible for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie;
Mr. Clément Beaune, responsible for European Affairs;
Attached to the Minister for the Ecological Transition:
Ms. Bérangère Abba, responsible for Biodiversity;
Attached to the Minister of National Education, Youth and Sport:
Ms. Nathalie Elimas, responsible for Priority Education Policy;
Ms. Sarah El Haïry, responsible for Youth and Engagement;
Attached to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery and the Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Government:
Mr. Cédric O, responsible for the Digital Transition and Electronic Communication;
Attached to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery:
Ms. Olivia Grégoire, responsible for the Social, Inclusive and Responsible Economy;
Attached to the Minister of Labor, Employment and Economic Inclusion:
Mr. Laurent Pietraszewski, responsible for Pensions and Occupational Health;
Attached to the Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Government:
Mr. Joël Giraud, responsible for Rural Affairs;
Attached to the Minister for Solidarity and Health:
Mr. Adrien Taquet, responsible for Children and Families.
The President of the Republic will convene a meeting of the Council of Ministers, with all members of the Government, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.
4. United Nations - Women in the Afghan peace process: ensuring women’s participation and promoting their rights - Statement by the permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security council - Arria formula meeting (New York - July 27, 2020)
Let me first thank the UK, Afghanistan, Germany and Indonesia for this very timely meeting. I would like to pay special tribute to Ambassador Raz for her tireless efforts in promoting the Women, peace and security agenda in Afghanistan. And I would also like to thank the First Lady of Afghanistan for her engagement and the panelists for their contributions.
The tragic attack against a maternity in Dasht-é Barchi on May 12 cruelly reminds us that women and children are the first victims of terrorism. Violence must stop. We support the Secretary General’s appeal for a ceasefire, as recently outlined by resolution 2532 on COVID19.
As the pandemic has taken a greater toll on women with consequences on their jobs and exposition to domestic violence, our priority must be to insure their safety, and to support women human rights defenders. We welcome the initiatives taken by President Ahsraf Ghani in response to the undergoing campaign "WhereIsMyName" to allow women to have their names on their identity cards.
The agreements of February 29th raised hopes. But there will also be no lasting peace without the full, equal and meaningful participation of Afghan women. We call on all negotiating parties to recognize this fact and take action to ensure higher inclusion of women in peace talks. We commend the designation by the Afghan government of several women in their negotiating team. It is sadly not enough. Women have to have a seat at both sides of the table and at all stages of negotiations. How can we ensure that the Talibans engage truthfully with women negotiators and on women’s issues?
France hosted a delegation of Afghan women, to learn from their experience and to give these women from different backgrounds tools to engage in a negotiating process. We cannot accept the fallacy that women are absent because of so called insufficient adequate profiles when women play an instrumental role in the day-to-day life as educators, workers and community leaders. I want to ask collectively what more could be done to ensure that women are engaged in the proper training processes?
Let me conclude by reaffirming that safeguarding human rights, especially women’s rights remains a priority of our position with regard to the situation in Afghanistan. This matter will be one of the revelator’s of the Taliban’s claim to accept that Afghanistan has changed since they were ousted from power. There can be no turning back. We must collectively reiterate our support for an inclusive peace process, in which UNAMA and the United Nations in Afghanistan have a key role to play. This will be an essential condition for a strong support to the future Afghanistan from the international community.
I thank you very much.