Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris - November 21, 2017)
• United Nations – Election of Ronny Abraham to the International Court of Justice (November 9, 2017)
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will deliver a speech at the 65th Congress of the French Union of Professions and Industries in the Hotel Business (UMIH) in Reims. He will be received by UMIH Chairman Roland Héguy. UMIH is a member of the Interministerial Tourism Council.
Jean-Yves Le Drian will set out his strategy for achieving the goal of 100 million international tourists and €50 billion in revenue by 2020. He will highlight the role of government services in developing high-quality French tourist attractions and facilities and boosting their promotion among national and international clients. The number of tourists visiting France is increasing, with approximately 89 million international tourists expected to have visited France in 2017.
On October 10, the minister convened the tourism steering committee which brings together actors in this sector. He presented his proposals for concrete measures to develop the connectivity of our destinations, to promote and ensure the safety of tourist routes.
Jean-Yves Le Drian will take part in the next interministerial tourism committee meeting on January 19, chaired by the prime minister, in the run-up to the third edition of the annual tourism conference in the spring.
The International Court of Justice elections resulted in the appointment for nine-year terms of Ronny Abraham (France), Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Nawaf Salam (Lebanon) and Dalveer Bhandari (India). France congratulates the newly elected or re-elected judges. It welcomes in particular the re-election of Ronny Abraham, the current president of the court, confirmed during the first voting session; he was unanimously re-elected with 15 votes in favor during all rounds of voting at the Security Council and had the highest number of votes in each of the six rounds of voting at the General Assembly. It also pays tribute to the contribution of Judge Greenwood to the work of the International Court of Justice.
France’s attachment to the International Court of Justice reflects the importance of the UN’s principal judicial organ as well as our country’s responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council.
The International Court of Justice was established by the UN Charter. Its mission, in accordance with international law, is to settle the disputes brought before it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions raised by the UN bodies and specialized institutions. Its mission is therefore central to the peaceful resolution of disputes, a principle enshrined in the UN Charter. Its decisions are binding on the states that bring disputes before it.
Do you have any evidence showing that a chemical attack took place in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, on Saturday?
We were concerned to learn of reports indicating a possible chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta on November 18.
Given the gravity of what such an attack would represent, we are closely following the situation and waiting for reports by operational international investigative mechanisms, particularly the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM).
In this type of situation, the international community must have all available means to understand and establish responsibility. That is why we deeply regret that Russia decided to end the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and the OPCW at the UN Security Council. France strongly condemns any violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and particularly any use of such weapons.
Do you think Riad Hijab’s resignation is a good thing?
We take note of Riad Hijab’s decision to resign as general coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee. We applaud his work with the opposition to achieve a political solution in Syria.
We hope tomorrow’s meeting in Riyadh will allow the opposition to restructure itself on a unified, credible and pragmatic basis, enabling it to take part in the best possible conditions in the next negotiating session in Geneva.
These discussions must provide an opportunity to move forward toward an inclusive political solution to the Syrian crisis under UN Security Council resolution 2254.
This weekend the White House stressed the need to work with its allies to counter Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities. Is this your line as well?
France’s demands with respect to Hezbollah are well known. In accordance with pertinent Security Council resolutions, we expect it to renounce its weapons and to behave as a party that fully respects the sovereignty of the Lebanese State. We also believe that Lebanon’s stability requires it to steer clear of the tensions in the region. We therefore consider Hezbollah’s involvement in the war in Syria to be dangerous, and we reiterate our priority focus on the Blue Line on the border between Lebanon and Israel.
In this challenging moment, we are continuing our dialogue with all the Lebanese parties and encourage them to agree on the smooth functioning of state institutions, which is crucial to Lebanon’s stability.