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Official speeches and statements - August 24, 2020

Published on August 24, 2020

1. Libya - Press briefing by the Deputy Press Director of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - August 21, 2020)

The statements issued by the head of the Presidency Council and the chairman of the House of Representatives notably calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the military operations in Libya and the resumption of oil production are a positive step. They must be implemented on the ground.

France calls on all parties to effectively implement the cessation of hostilities and engage in good faith in efforts to conclude a lasting ceasefire agreement, that will lead, through reciprocal, credible and verifiable steps, to a resumption of the political process and an end to all foreign interference in Libya. France also calls on the parties to continue their efforts to allow the resumption of oil production and the transparent allocation of its revenue as soon as possible.

There can be no military solution in Libya. That is why France calls for a return to the political process under UN auspices on the basis of the parameters agreed upon by the Libyan people in order to pave the way for the holding of elections. This notably involves the reunification of Libya’s institutions and the economic and security reforms needed to ensure the country’s stabilization.

2. United Nations - Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts - Statement by Mr. Wadid Benaabou, deputy political coordinator at the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations - Security Council (New York - August 24, 2020)

[Translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the briefers for their statements.

I would like to highlight four points.

First of all, I would like to reiterate France’s determination to pursue, with its international partners, the fight against Daesh within the framework of the international coalition. Daesh lost its territorial foothold with the fall of Baghouz in March 2019, but the group still has many supporters in the Levant and beyond. It has shown its determination to exploit the opportunities created by the current health context to step up its violent actions in Syria and Iraq but also, through its affiliated groups, in Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and Africa. The threat is far from having disappeared.

We will continue our efforts, militarily but also politically, to address the root causes of Daesh’s emergence. In that regard, I would like to reiterate our conviction that there will be no complete and lasting victory against Daesh without a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with the terms of resolution 2254 (2004). France continues to work to that end in support of the work of the United Nations Special Envoy. It is also contributing to the recovery of the Syrian territories and populations that were liberated from Daesh thanks to the action of the International Coalition and that are now facing a difficult humanitarian situation.

In Iraq, it is essential for the international community to stand resolutely by the authorities to help the country strengthen its sovereignty and enable the economic development of its entire territory.

It is also necessary to continue our efforts to effectively protect children from recruitment and indoctrination, including by terrorist groups. As this Council recognized five years ago in resolution 2242, girls are particularly vulnerable to such recruitment strategies. In the same vein, we must continue our efforts in the area of humanitarian assistance to ensure dignified living conditions for thousands of refugees and vulnerable persons in regions affected by terrorism and thus prevent them as much as possible from joining the ranks of terrorist groups.

Secondly, I wish to recall the need to combat the financing of terrorism effectively. Daesh’s financial capabilities remain at a high level. These resources, which are diversifying, must be dried up. This is a priority for France, which drafted resolution 2462 that was adopted in March 2019. We call for its full implementation, including with regard to States’ compliance with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

Thirdly, I would like to stress the importance of combating the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. The Christchurch Call that we launched together with New Zealand in May 2019 now brings together some 50 States and partners, including major Internet companies. The participation of the latter is an essential condition for ensuring the effectiveness of the fight against online terrorist content. The COVID-19 pandemic has led, during periods of containment, to increased exposure to online terrorist propaganda, however, it is essential to regulate the use of the Internet, which cannot be a lawless zone, while imperatively respecting freedom of expression.

This brings me to my fourth point: I would like to stress that the fight against terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism must be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian, refugee and human rights law. Similarly, this fight cannot justify attacks against civilians or the targeting of humanitarian actors and infrastructure. Respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as education, inclusion and social cohesion, are in the long term key factors in any strategy to prevent and combat terrorism.

Finally, I would like to conclude with a word for the victims of Daesh and their families. I am thinking in particular of the Yazidis in the Sinjar district of Iraq who, exactly six years ago, were victims of war crimes and abuses committed by the Daesh men. Friday’s tribute to the victims of terrorism recalled the importance of placing victims at the heart of our collective action against terrorism. They have a right to justice. In that regard, France supports UNITAD’s action in Iraq. As it supports initiatives to combat impunity by prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of crimes as close as possible to where the crimes were committed.

Thank you Mr. President.