Quai d’Orsay - French official statements - May 23th, 2016 [fr]
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Romain Nadal, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Development spokesman (Paris, May 23th, 2016) :
World Humanitarian Summit – Statement by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (Istanbul, May 23 to 24)
I welcome the holding of the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul from May 23 to 24. The French delegation is being led by Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs. André Vallini, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, will notably take part in meetings on the initiative taken by Gordon Brown, whom the UN secretary-general has tasked with implementing a specific mechanism for education in situations of crisis.
While crises are increasing humanitarian needs every day and 60 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes, this summit should enable the international community to develop a new road map for international humanitarian action. It will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the protection of civilians, to strengthen the link between humanitarian assistance and development and to better respond to the consequences of natural disasters and climate disruption, in follow-up to our mobilization in support of COP21.
Today, 80% of humanitarian action is conducted in the context of armed conflict, a situation that is affecting an increasing number of civilians, especially children. France is mobilized on the ground and within the international forums to ensure respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians. To that end, I will chair a public debate at the UN Security Council on June 10 in New York on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations. France will also host an international conference in 2017 to promote the protection of children in armed conflict, 10 years after the adoption of the “Paris Principles and Commitments.”
Ukraine – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart (Paris, May 24)
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive his Ukrainian counterpart, Pavlo Klimkin, on May 24.
Discussions will focus on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the development of bilateral relations and relations between the EU and Ukraine.
Sweden – Meeting between Harlem Désir and Hans Dahlgren (Paris, May 23)
Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will receive Hans Dahlgren, Swedish State Secretary for Foreign and EU Affairs, today.
They will discuss the development of our bilateral relations, as well as major current European issues, especially the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism and the continuation of European integration, including in terms of its social dimension.
They will visit the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, where they will talk to young students about youth mobility and employment opportunities in Europe.
European Union - Harlem Désir’s participation in a debate on Europe (Brussels, May 23, 2016)
Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will take part in a public debate at the “Maison des régions” in Brussels today together with his German and Italian counterparts, Michael Roth and Sandro Gozi, on the theme of “Building bridges not walls: three perceptions of Europe.”
Since 2013, the “Maison des régions” has included Aquitaine for France, the Land of Hessen for Germany, the region of Emilia Romagna for Italy and the Wielkopolska region for Poland. It will host, for the first time, three ministerial officials responsible for European affairs in order to provide a fresh perspective on current affairs.
Economic diplomacy – Meeting of the Strategic Council on Exports chaired by Matthias Fekl (Paris, May 23)
Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, chaired the sixth meeting of the Strategic Council on Exports today at the Quai d’Orsay, which was attended by all stakeholders involved in the internationalization of French firms.
This meeting notably provided an opportunity to work on two topical issues:
the consequences of the implementation of the EU’s new customs code on May 1, 2016;
the international challenges associated with sustainable cities featuring a presentation by Gérard Wolf, coordinator for this priority export area.
The participants also prepared for the second SME international forum, which will take place on June 14 and will be attended by 400 business leaders.
Syria – Air raids and civilian casualties
In Syria, violence and attacks are exposing civilians to international humanitarian rights violations.
Today’s car bomb attacks by Daesh in Tartus, which left more than 100 dead, are despicable.
France also condemns the regime’s bombardment of civilian populations and medical infrastructures. Its continuing offensive against Aleppo, with the support of its allies, and its systematic blocking of humanitarian assistance, in violation of the commitments it undertook in Vienna on May 17, are unacceptable.
France calls for the immediate respect of the cessation of hostilities and free access to humanitarian assistance. The violence must stop to allow for the resumption of inter-Syrian negotiations on implementing the political transition, as Mr. Ban Ki-moon stated in Doha. The entire international community, beginning with the regime’s supporters, must work hard to ensure that UN Security Council resolutions and the commitments taken in Vienna are fully respected.
Sudan - Expulsion of head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
France is concerned by the announced expulsion of the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan. This is the fourth expulsion of a UN high official from that country in two years. These expulsions jeopardize the UN’s work in Sudan, and particularly its humanitarian efforts on the ground.
France reiterates its support for the UN’s work in Sudan and the United Nations-African Union joint mission in Darfur. It calls on the Sudanese authorities to cooperate with them fully.
Yemen – Attack in Aden (May 23)
France condemns the attack that just struck Aden, leaving several dozen dead.
We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and express our solidarity with Yemen in the fight against terrorism.
With negotiations taking place today in Kuwait, it is urgent to find a political solution that allows the country to return to peace, stability and economic development.
Thailand – Fire at boarding school (May 22)
France offers its condolences to the families of the victims who died in the tragic fire at a girls’ boarding school in northern Thailand during the night of May 21-22.
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Thai people in this moment of grief.
Health – France’s contribution to improving women’s health (May 23)
On this International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, France notes that it is actively participating in this effort. Some 50,000 to 100,000 women suffer from this condition each year, with a total of more than 2 million untreated cases worldwide.
In 2016, we will focus in particular on the sexual and reproductive health of teens and young people, on nutrition, and on strengthening healthcare systems. France will contribute 10 million euros to the Muskoka Fund, a joint program operated by four UN agencies (WHO, UNFPA, UN WOMEN, and UNICEF).
From 2011 to 2015, the 91.25 million euros raised by the fund helped strengthen access to quality obstetric care and prevent premature pregnancies and traditional practices harmful to women’s health in 10 French-speaking countries of central and western Africa.