Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - October 16, 2017)
• Venezuela – Announcement of the results of the regional elections (October 15, 2017)
• Somalia – Terrorist attack (October 14, 2017)
• Culture – Lille Métropole, World Design Capital 2020
Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for Foreign Affairs, will take part in the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, on October 17.
The agenda will focus on three key issues:
- preparations for the European Council on October 19 and 20: The ministers will examine the draft conclusions which will focus on four priorities (migration, security and defense, external relations, digital affairs); during this meeting, Nathalie Loiseau will continue to call for a Europe that protects;
- annual Human Rights Dialogue: For the third time since this debate was launched in December 2014, the General Affairs Council will hold a discussion focusing this year on "Media pluralism and the rule of law in the digital age." The minister will present several examples of initiatives taken by France in these areas;
- cybersecurity: Vice President of the European Commission Andrus Ansip will discuss the Cybersecurity Package presented by the Commission on September 13, the implementation of which should help achieve the goal of European strategic autonomy in the area of digital security. This is a key priority for France.
Nathalie Loiseau will also take part in the General Affairs Council session in the Article 50 format (without the United Kingdom). The ministers will examine the draft conclusions of the European Council (Article 50) following a presentation by Michel Barnier on progress in the negotiations relating to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal following the fifth round of negotiations from October 9 to 12. On the sidelines of the meeting, the ministers will discuss the transfer of agencies located in the UK (European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority). As a reminder, the final decision must be taken on November 27 by a vote by the 27 ministers meeting on the sidelines of the General Affairs Council (Article 50).
France is concerned by the announcement of the results of regional elections in Venezuela.
The conditions for holding the elections are under dispute. Serious irregularities are being denounced and the lack of transparency in the verification and tabulation process is affecting confidence in the results.
France deplores this situation and is working with its EU partners to examine appropriate measures to help resolve the serious crisis affecting the country.
France condemns the terrorist attack that killed almost 300 people and injured more than 500 others on October 14 in Mogadishu.
We assure all of the victims and their families of our solidarity at this painful time.
France stands alongside Somalia - which has been hard hit - in the fight against terrorism.
The Iranian nuclear agreement was negotiated down to the last comma, and is set to expire in 2025, which Washington wants to change. By indicating that France is ready to take part in discussions on the "post-2025" period, isn’t Paris weakening the other signatories of the agreement, who repeat that the deal cannot be renegotiated?
As Jean-Yves Le Drian noted this morning on the sidelines of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, France is committed to the implementation of the Vienna agreement by all parties. This is a robust agreement whose proper implementation will keep the Iranian nuclear program from being used for military purposes for more than 10 years. France in no way hopes to renegotiate or amend any aspect of this agreement.
As Mr. Le Drian clearly stated on October 14, we must not touch this agreement, but it is legitimate to think about the post-2025 period.
Do you want to impose sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards, and is that a subject you intend to bring up in Brussels today?
The EU Foreign Affairs Council will review the situation today following President Trump’s announcements on the implementation of the Vienna Agreement. The heads of state and government of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have reaffirmed their commitment to this agreement, which remains in force.
We do however have concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile program and its policies in the region. But these questions are separate from the JCPOA. We want to raise them with Iran and all of our concerned partners.
As for the Revolutionary Guard, they are already subject to EU sanctions because of their participation in the Iranian ballistic missile program.
The government in Baghdad asserts that PKK fighters are in Kirkuk province, where battles broke out between Kurdish and Iraqi forces. Do you have information to this effect? Are you afraid the situation will continue to deteriorate?
We call on all the parties to show restraint and refrain from any move likely to exacerbate tensions. It is vital for the regional government of Kurdistan and the Iraqi federal government to continue their dialogue. This dialogue must reflect respect for the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and take into consideration the rights of the Kurds.
France’s position on the PKK is unwavering: it is a terrorist organization whose actions we condemn.
Given the United States’ new aggressive strategy toward Iran, is the idea of a contact group on Syria dead in the water?
Regardless of the US policy toward Iran, there is still a need for an international compromise in order to put an end to the war in Syria.
It is with this in mind that we are continuing our efforts to bring all countries that exert influence over Syria together within a contact group.
What do you think about the reduced Chadian military presence in Niger in the fight against Boko Haram?
It is not our role to express an opinion on the movements of Chadian troops, which are the exclusive responsibility of the authorities of this country.
France welcomes Chad’s decisive contribution to the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and in the Lake Chad basin.
We applaud the decision announced on October 14 by the World Design Organization in Turin to name the European metropolitan area of Lille as the 2020 Global Design Capital.
Since its designation as European Culture Capital in 2004, Lille has resolutely opted for development, keeping in mind the contribution of cultural industries to economic growth, urban renewal, and social cohesion.
Lille Metropole’s latest celebration of culture should attract more than 5 million visitors to the area in 2020.
It will also have strong consequences for the international reputation of French design, covering a large broad range of economic and cultural activities ranging from industrial design to urban development.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs worked hard to promote this candidacy, tirelessly supporting the metropolis’s international efforts.
Established in 1957, the World Design Organization is a non-governmental association that brings together more than 140 members from 40 countries. Since 2008, it has designated a world design capital every two years. Lille Métropole is the first French area to receive this title, succeeding Taipei in 2016 and Mexico City in 2018.