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Official speeches and statements - September 3, 2020

Published on September 3, 2020

1. Russia - Aleksei Navalny - Communiqué issued by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, minister for Europe and foreign affairs (Paris - September 2, 2020)

I was dismayed to learn of the information published by the German authorities confirming the use in Russia of a nerve agent belonging to the "Novichok" family to poison Aleksei Navalny.

I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such an agent.

Once again, the principle of the prohibition of the use of any chemical weapon has been violated. I wish to reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and contravenes international standards banning the use of these weapons, as reaffirmed by the Declaration of Principles endorsed by the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons launched on France’s initiative on January 23, 2018.

In this context, it is essential and urgent for the Russian authorities to be able to establish without delay the circumstances in which the use of a nerve agent against Mr. Navalny was possible. Given Mr. Navalny’s political status in Russia, the attack against him raises significant questions. It is the responsibility of the Russian authorities to respond to these questions.

France is in close contact with the German authorities, as well as its partners, in order to coordinate on the response to this event in the relevant forums, notably within the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

We reaffirm our wholehearted solidarity with the victim and his family and wish him a speedy recovery.


2. United Nations - Libya - Statement by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - September 2, 2020)

[Translation from French]

Thank you Mr. President.

First of all, I would like to thank and congratulate Indonesia for its presidency of our Council in August, wish Niger good luck for the month of September and assure the President of the Council of my full support.

I thank Stephanie Williams and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany, Chairman of the Sanctions Committee, for their work, of course, and also for their presentations.

We keep reminding it: there is no military solution in Libya.

Once again, France calls for a ceasefire and the resumption of the political process, under the auspices of the United Nations and on the basis of the parameters agreed upon by the Libyans.

This must pave the way for elections, the reunification of Libyan institutions and economic and security reforms, which are absolutely essential.

In this spirit, the statements of August 21 by the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Sarraj, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh, represent a positive step. These statements must now be followed by action on the ground and lead to an immediate and lasting ceasefire, the cessation of military operations in Libya, the dismantling of militias and the resumption of oil production. This momentum, which must be based on reciprocal, credible and verifiable gestures, will lead to the resumption of the political process.

We call on Libyan and international actors to make every effort to this end, by ceasing hostilities and committing themselves in good faith to support these developments. Foreign forces must withdraw from Libya. Such interference is not acceptable, and in this regard we condemn the interference and violations of the arms embargo, the number of which has unfortunately increased since the Berlin Conference on 19 January.

France also calls on the parties to continue their efforts to enable the resumption of oil production as soon as possible and the transparent allocation of the resulting revenues.

In this perspective,this Council must fully play its role and, in particular, it must strengthen the mediation of the United Nations and UNSMIL.

This Council must be united on the appointment, by the Secretary General and without further delay, of a new mediator. Almost six months have passed since the resignation of Ghassan Salamé. The vacancy of the UN mediation can no longer last.

To enable the United Nations to fully play its role in Libya, we support the United Kingdom as it negotiates an ambitious renewal, for one year, of UNSMIL’s mandate.

In particular, we are open to a close discussion with all our partners within the Council on ways to enhance the effectiveness of the mission. In particular, we propose strengthening UNSMIL’s role in supporting a possible ceasefire in Libya and in enforcing the arms embargo.

France will remain fully committed to a political solution in Libya in order to put an end to this conflict that has gone on for too long. To this end, it will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations and their strengthening.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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