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Official speeches and statements - August 31, 2020

Published on August 31, 2020

1. Belarus - Statement by Mr. Jean-Yves le Drian, minister for Europe and foreign affairs (Paris - August 30, 2020)

The arbitrary measures taken against journalists by the authorities in Belarus violate the freedom of the press, and I condemn them.

I call on the Belarusian authorities to roll back these measures immediately. It is urgent to establish an inclusive national dialogue in Belarus, and repressive measures against journalists are not conducive to that.

2. China - Statement from the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs - Meeting of Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian with Mr. Wang Yi (Paris - August 30, 2020)

On Saturday, August 29, 2020, Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, received Mr. Wang Yi, State Councillor, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

This meeting, following a number of telephone calls between the two Ministers since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, was an opportunity to mark the two countries’ determination to continue coordinating to respond to the pandemic and its consequences for our bilateral exchanges. Mr. Le Drian addressed the situation of the French community, whose return to China under the best conditions is a priority.

Building on President Macron’s state visit to China in November 2019, the Minister mentioned progress on trade as regards market access, particularly in the agrifood sector. The discussions also covered the aeronautics and civil nuclear sectors, which are pillars of our trade relationship.

With an eye on upcoming Europe-China meetings, Mr. Le Drian highlighted the expectations of the European Union and its Member States, particularly concerning global issues. As the two countries intend to defend an ambitious approach to the climate and biodiversity, the two Ministers discussed the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, as well as the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Marseille and the 15th session Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Kunming.

The situation in Mali, Lebanon and North Korea were discussed, as well as the Iran crisis, given the responsibility of France and China with regard to international peace and security as permanent members of the UN Security Council. Minister Le Drian reiterated our position on compliance with international law in the South China Sea.

The Minister recalled France’s serious concerns as to the worsening human rights situation in China, particularly in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

3. International Day of the Victims of enforced disappearances - Joint statement by the French and Argentine foreign ministers (Paris, 30/08/2020)

On August 30, the international community celebrates the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

On this day, Argentina and France recall their firm commitment to combating impunity as regards forced disappearances, and their thoughts go out to victims and their families. These serious human rights violations are unacceptable and must be condemned by the international community.

The 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is considered a fundamental human rights treaty, providing important preventive measures and enabling greater cooperation and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It currently has 98 signatories, of which 63 have ratified the text.

In 2020, there will be two significant anniversaries: the 40th of the creation of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), celebrated in March in Buenos Aires, with France’s participation, and the 10th anniversary of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED), conceived as the Convention’s monitoring body.

On this commemorative day, Argentina and France reaffirm their commitment to combating enforced disappearances. The two States work together to promote universal ratification of the Convention and will therefore launch a new campaign of joint demarches, following those in 2013 and 2018.

4. Turkey - Death of the lawyer Ebru Timtik - Statement from the ministry for Europe and foreign affairs (Paris - August 29, 2020)

We were shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of the lawyer Ebru Timtik, victim of a hunger strike that she began to demand a fair trial.

France pays tribute to the engagement of this lawyer for the rule of law and for fundamental freedoms, including every person’s right to a fair trial, and extends its condolences to the family, colleagues and loved ones of Ebru Timtik.

France once again calls on Turkey to comply with its international commitments, including the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It will continue closely following the trials against all representatives of civil society and human rights defenders in Turkey, and particularly demands respect for the rights of the lawyer Aytaç Ünsal, on a hunger strike for more than 200 days, and his swift release.