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Official speeches and statements - September 24, 2020

Published on September 24, 2020

1. Turkey - Telephone conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - September 22, 2020)

The President of the French Republic had a telephone conversation for more than an hour with the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, regarding the situation in the eastern Mediterranean region, Libya and Syria.

The President welcomed the start of exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey on their disputes. He wanted this dialogue to be conducted in good faith, with a view to de-escalation and a lasting easing of tensions. He called for similar dialogue in the same spirit to be agreed to by Turkey with the Republic of Cyprus.

The Head of State reiterated his constant readiness to engage in dialogue and his interest in a solid relationship between the European Union and Turkey, on a clear basis that is respectful of everyone’s interests.

In this regard, he called on Turkey to fully respect the sovereignty of the European Union Member States, to fully comply with international law, to refrain from any fresh unilateral action that could provoke tensions, and to commit unambiguously to building a space of peace and cooperation in the Mediterranean. He also called on Turkey to fully respect the arms embargo in Libya within the framework defined by the United Nations, as well as the security interests of its allies in Syria.

The two heads of State decided to continue to hold regular dialogue on these issues at their level and at ministerial level.

2. Lebanon - Joint Statement of the International Support Group for Lebanon (September 23, 2020)

1. A ministerial meeting of the members of the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon co-chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and H.E. Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, was held on 23 September 2020. Statements opening the virtual meeting were made by the Secretary-General and Foreign Minister Le Drian.

Following the opening statements, H. E. Dr. Hassan Diab, Caretaker Prime Minister and President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon, delivered remarks. Interventions were made by H.E. Mr. Luigi Di Maio, Foreign Minister of Italy; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the League of Arab States ; H.E. Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission ; H.E. the Right Honorable Mr. James Cleverly, Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, of the United Kingdom ; H.E. Mr. Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, of the Federal Republic of Germany; H.E. David Hale, Under-Secretary of State for political affairs of the United States of America H.E. Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative, People’s Republic of China ; H.E. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation. A presentation was also made by M. Axel Van Trotsenburg, Director of operations of the World Bank.

2. Participants thanked the United Nations Secretary-General and France for convening the meeting and reiterated their condolences to the victims and families of the 4 of August explosions in Beirut. They also paid tribute to the resilience of the Lebanese people, the assistance provided by civil society to those in need and all those volunteers from Lebanon and abroad who supported the emergency response. They expressed their full solidarity with Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

3. Members of the ISG commended the international community for its swift and immediate response with both financial and logistic support to Lebanon and to the Lebanese people in the aftermath of the 4 August explosions and welcomed the commitments made at the international high-level conference in support of Beirut and the Lebanese people co-chaired by the United Nations and France on August 9, 2020 and subsequent commitments through the August 14 UN Emergency Appeal. The pledged support should be timely, sufficient, consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people and delivered with utmost efficiency and transparency to address emergency relief assistance and early recovery activities. Members of the ISG also underscored the importance of close and efficient coordination between the United Nations, governments, donors, humanitarian and development actors and Lebanese state institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces in light of their specific role in this response. Members of the ISG welcomed the joint EU-UN and World Bank assessments as a basis for donor engagement and called upon the international community to swiftly scale up its support to Beirut and the Lebanese people in that context. Members of the ISG look forward to a follow-up conference in October in Paris, which will be able to take stock of what has been done so far and to assess the most efficient and transparent way forward to promote early recovery (activities aiming at restoring public infrastructure, rehabilitating housing, and stabilizing the situation of affected families, as well as support to health and education sectors affected by the explosion).

4. Members of the ISG urged Lebanon’s leaders to unite in support of the timely formation of a government able to meet the legitimate aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people and committed to addressing Lebanon’s multiple and acute challenges, notably its humanitarian, socio-economic and financial crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, the reconstruction of Beirut and the restoration of Beirut’s heritage and historical buildings. Members of the ISG took due note of the approval by the Government of Lebanon of a Financial Recovery Plan, as well as of the Government’s decision to request an IMF program, and reiterated, on the basis of the implementation of necessary reforms, its continued commitment to support Lebanon.

5. Members of the ISG strongly urged Lebanese political leaders to undertake critical reforms and welcomed the agreement reached earlier this month by all of Lebanon’s political leaders on a comprehensive roadmap of reforms with an implementation timetable in line with their prior commitments, including those made in the context of the CEDRE conference, and which enjoy the support of the ISG and other members of the international community.

Members of the ISG reiterated the need for those reforms to address the challenges of Lebanon and respond to the aspirations peacefully expressed by the Lebanese people.

6. Recalling the ISG statement of December 11, 2019, and recent statements of August 30 and September 19, members of the ISG urged Lebanon to speedily implement measures to restore economic stability, improve delivery of public services and the credibility of the financial sector, resume effective talks with the IMF and prioritize key governance measures, including credible regulation of key economic sectors, such as the electricity sector, and provide support for the most vulnerable communities in Lebanon, including through social safety nets. Members of the ISG also urged the government and political leaders to undertake credible measures to fight corruption and combat tax evasion, to adopt a capital control law, and other measures that ensure concrete changes are made and guarantee both transparency and full accountability to the Lebanese people. Members of the ISG confirmed their willingness to support Lebanon in undertaking these measures. They looked forward to the ISG meeting along with other regional and international leaders, which France intends to convene in Paris in October on the reform agenda, in support of Lebanon.

7. The ISG called on all actors to maintain the peaceful character of the protests, by avoiding violence and respecting the right to peaceful assembly and protest.

8. Members of the ISG stressed the importance of Lebanon’s continued, steadfast commitment to relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including 1559 (2004), 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006), and 2433 (2018), 2485 (2019) and 2539 (2020), the Taif Accords (1989), the Baabda Declaration on the policy of disassociation (2012) and other relevant international obligations, for the country’s domestic stability and that of the region.

9. Members of the ISG reaffirmed their continuous strong support for Lebanon and its people, for its stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence.

3. United Nations - Catalyzing digital financial Services for women across Africa: supporting recovery, resilience, and innovation during covid-19 - High level event of the G7 partnership for women’s digital financial inclusion in Africa - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations (New York - September 23, 2020)

Good morning, good afternoon,

I am very pleased to be here with you together with Her Majesty Queen Maxima, President Ramaphosa and also Melinda Gates.

As you just said, Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Economy in France caught the COVID-19 and he cannot be with us today and I will say a few words on his behalf.

First, I would like to say that gender equality is a key priority for France in its national and international policies. As you know, several ambitious deliverables have been launched during the French G7 presidency last year to promote and advance women’s and girls’ rights and we will continue to enhance our actions on this issue, especially through our feminist diplomacy.

We are almost one year after the release of the report “G7 partnership for women’s digital financial inclusion in Africa" which was presented at the finance’s ministers meeting in July 2019 during the French presidency of the G7. This report highlighted synergies between various public policies to reach this goal: regulation, payment interoperability, digital identity, research.

Since then, the health and economic consequences of the pandemics showed us that digitalization is more crucial than ever, to avoid the transmission of disease, help vulnerable groups, proceed to government transfers for social protection, do health payments or mobilize money for a relative.

Women have been especially hit by the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, as they are at the frontline of the response to the pandemic. Women support most of the domestic tasks, including healthcare and are over-represented in the service sector. Moreover, they encounter higher risks of revenues’ loss due to their overrepresentation in the informal sector - according to ILO, in Africa, 90% of working women are in the informal sector - which deprives them from social protection.

But the pandemic appears also as a game changer and is the occasion to explore new digital approaches. In this regard, Togo developed a very innovative welfare system, Novissi, which we are proud to support through the French Development Agency. Novissi provides a bimensual support with "mobile money" to informal workers and women accounts for 65% of the beneficiaries. Cina Lawson who will also take the floor will explain better than I.

From this project and others realizations, we now have to draw lessons to "build back better". What was already a development challenge, became an indispensable element of the economic and social response to the crisis, both for short term relief and long term recovery.

According to studies, digital finance has the potential to provide access to financial services for 1.6 billion people in emerging economies, more than half of them women. It could increase the volume of loans extended to individuals and businesses by $2.1 trillion, as well as allow governments to save $110 billion per year.

This is why France encourages international donors and African governments to incorporate investments in digital financial inclusion as part of their COVID-19 response, to foster more inclusive, secure, and resilient economies.

Thank you very much.

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