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Official speeches and statements - September 30, 2020

Published on September 30, 2020

1. Kuwait - Death of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah - Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - September 30, 2020)

France was saddened to learn of the death of the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and extends its condolences to the emir’s family and to the Kuwaiti people.

Throughout his reign, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah guided Kuwait on the path toward stability and modernity. A man of peace and dialogue, he served as foreign minister for more than 40 years and then as the emir of Kuwait from 2006; he worked tirelessly to adopt an informed and balanced diplomatic approach, ease regional tensions and promote the values of humanity.

With the passing of Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti people have lost a great leader who was respected around the world for the values of openness and dialogue he embodied.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah helped strengthen the deep and sincere ties of friendship between France and Kuwait.

France extends to the Kuwaiti authorities and people the expression of its friendship and wishes Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah every success in his new role.

2. United Nations - Middle East - Joint stake out by Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and Norway (New York - September 29, 2020)

We welcome the signing of the agreements between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, and between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Israel. We recognize the role played by the United States in this regard and believe that these developments represent a positive contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East. We remain convinced that sustainable peace, security and stability in the Middle East cannot be reached without a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions. Israel’s commitment to suspend plans to unilaterally annex areas of the occupied Palestinian territory is a positive step and should become permanent

We remain firm in our commitment and support to a negotiated and viable two-state solution built upon the internationally agreed parameters and international law. It is essential that to this end, meaningful negotiations on all final status issues resume between Israelis and Palestinians.

We remain ready to support Israelis and Palestinians in this regard and call on both sides to abstain from any unilateral actions which would be contrary to international law, exacerbate tensions or further undermine trust between the parties. We support all efforts to help resume credible negotiations, including the recent meeting held in Amman on September 24th and the efforts of the Middle East Quartet.

We call for the full respect and implementation of resolution 2334. We reaffirm our deep concern about Israel’s settlement activities, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace and to a negotiated two-State solution. The period from March to August 2020 saw the highest average destruction rate in four years. We call on Israel to immediately cease unlawful demolitions and to halt continued settlement expansion, including East Jerusalem, especially in sensitive areas such as Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and E1.

We recall our long-standing position that we will not recognize any changes to the 1967 borders, unless agreed by Israelis and Palestinians. The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both States, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region.

We condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror and the firing of rockets into Israel, as well as acts of provocation, incitement and destruction. We also reiterate our commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to current and emerging threats in the region;

We express our deep concern regarding UNRWA’s critical financial situation, and appeal to all States to consider making or increasing their contributions to the Agency.

3. Seventy-fifth United Nations general Assembly - Accelerating the end of the COVID-19 pandemic: taking new solutions to scale to save lives, protect health systems and restart the global economy - Statement by Mr. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie (New York - September 30, 2020)

We have made considerable progress since the beginning of this epidemic. Diagnostic tools are improving, and the first treatments are saving lives and lightening the burden on our health care systems. Every day, we are a step closer to developing a vaccine.

It is thanks to our multilateral efforts, the only way to effectively tackle this crisis, to these innovations and to our better understanding of the virus, that we can bring an end to this epidemic.

But it would be unthinkable for access to these innovations to be left to market forces, going to highest bidder alone.

These tools must be available to all those who need them, as global public goods. ACT-A has done important work in a few months, but that goal is not yet guaranteed. But it is an imperative, both for solidarity and for effectiveness, because victory over the virus can only be global.

This is why France wants all ACT-A stakeholders to adopt shared principles around this global public goods goal, which could take the form of a charter, with several major thrusts:

1/ Pooling of the results of research and clinical trials;

2/ A global allocation strategy, supported by WHO, in order to respond fairly to the most pressing needs;

3/ A fair price, justified by transparent practices open to auditing of the cost of research, development and production. For while the pharmaceutical industry has an essential role in these innovations, and I would like to commend its role, it would be unacceptable for some to profit from public distress;

4/ Voluntary sharing of intellectual property to multiply production capacities and address global needs.

We also need to ensure that countries’ health systems are capable of receiving and providing their people with COVID-19 products fairly and safely. To prepare countries and ensure healthcare professionals are well protected, that epidemiological data are available, and that communities are involved in the response, strengthening the key functions of health systems is crucial.

France is fully engaged in the essential financial efforts to ensure developing countries have access to vaccines, and will contribute euro100M to this goal once a vaccine is available.

With this public health crisis, we are at a crossroads: selfishness and failure are on one side; solidarity, multilateralism and success on the other. We must be equal to the situation, and overcome rivalries.

4. United Nations - Middle East - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the Security Council (New York - September 29, 2020)

Mr. President,

I thank Special Coordinator for his briefing on the implementation of Resolution 2334.

The recent developments confirm the continued centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the region. The parameters of its settlement are well-known: two states, living in peace and security, within secure and recognized borders based on the 1967 lines, both with Jerusalem as their capital.

On this basis, it is now our responsibility to work for the resumption of dialogue between the two parties.

The announcement of the normalization of Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain marks a new dynamic that can make a positive contribution to regional stability. We welcome it.

However, regional stability also requires a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that respects the aspirations and rights of both parties and is consistent with international law and the parameters agreed by this Council. France, which is a friend of both Israelis and Palestinians, remains convinced that neither of the two peoples will be able to satisfy its aspirations to the detriment of those of the other. And France will not compromise with Israel’s security, just as it will not abandon the Palestinian people in the conquest of their rights.

France is ready, with its European and Arab partners, to support a gradual resumption of dialogue. It is in this spirit that Minister Le Drian and his German, Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts met, in the presence of the EU Special Representative, in Amman on 24 September. The four ministers expressed their determination to act collectively to this end, on the basis of concrete and realistic commitments to be made by both parties. It is also important for the parties to resume their cooperation at all levels, in accordance with past agreements, including to address the current pandemic.

In order to achieve a resumption of dialogue, it is urgent to recreate the confidence between the parties.

This presupposes, first of all, that the Israeli authorities’ suspension of the plan to annex Palestinian territories becomes a definitive measure. This is the message that our Ministers reiterated in Amman. It is also the message we conveyed with my European counterparts ahead of this Council meeting.

It also presupposes an end to the settlement policy and the implementation of Resolution 2334. France is very concerned by the continuing settlement policy and the unprecedented increase in the demolition of Palestinian structures over the past six months despite the pandemic. Settlement activities must not allow a de facto annexation. France calls on Israel to suspend the construction of new housing units in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, particularly in sensitive areas around Jerusalem such as Givat Hamatos, Har Homa and in the "E1" area, and to implement an effective demolition freeze.

France also calls for progress in the inter-Palestinian reconciliation process and hopes that the meeting organized by Ankara will enable progress in this direction. It welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s renewed commitment to organize elections and encourages it to make rapid progress in preparing for this important date for the Palestinian people.

Moreover, France will continue to give its full support to the work of UNRWA. It calls on all States to contribute to its budget to help it overcome its financial crisis. Finally, France remains committed to the respect of international humanitarian law and human rights, in particular through the support of Palestinian and Israeli civil society organizations.

Mr. President,

France is ready to support any initiative based on international law and agreed parameters. It calls on this Council to unite its efforts on the basis that we have built together. Thank you.