THE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
France in the United States
Statements Made by the Ministry for Europe
and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Paris – March 6, 2020
Indian Ocean Commission – Visit by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (March 6-9, 2020)
Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is visiting the Seychelles from March 6 to 9 to represent France at the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), which brings together five member states: the Union of the Comoros, France on behalf of Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
This visit will provide an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment within the IOC while underscoring the importance to France of its neighborhood relations in the Indian Ocean, as reaffirmed by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, during his recent visit to Mauritius, Madagascar and Mozambique. The Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission will formally adopt the revised Victoria Agreement, which replaces the general cooperation agreement between the member states of the Indian Ocean Commission of January 10, 1984, as well as the additional protocol of 1989. This text reaffirms the IOC’s identity as a regional neighborhood organization, reaffirms the unifying role of the French language and sets out the criteria for the granting of observer status.
During this visit, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will be received by Danny Faure, President of the Seychelles; he will meet with Vincent Mériton, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine. The minister of state will underscore the importance of our geographic and strategic proximity in the regional context of the southwest Indian Ocean in the areas of maritime security, the fight against climate change and the development of the blue economy, including from an Indo-Pacific perspective.
Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne will also visit the facilities of the port of Victoria, whose renovation is being supported by the French Development Agency, in order to promote French expertise in the field of port management. In an archipelago, where 30% of GDP is dependent on tourism, the minister of state will meet with French professionals in this sector, which offers investment opportunities.
Ukraine – Opening of the flight MH17 trial (The Hague – March 9, 2020)
The opening of the trial on March 9 in The Hague of the four suspects in the downing of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, is an important step toward establishing the facts and bringing justice to the families and friends of the victims.
France reaffirms its support for the member states of the joint investigation team. It calls on Russia to fully cooperate with the Dutch judicial authorities, in accordance with UNSCR 2166.
You triggered the Iranian nuclear agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism in early January. Since November, enriched uranium stockpiles have tripled, and the IAEA separately accused Iran of responding to a certain number of questions in connection with the possibility of undeclared nuclear material and activities, and of refusing access to two sites. Do you believe Iran is prepared to resolve the disputes it has with you?
As the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in its quarterly report, issued on March 3, Iran is continuing to implement measures counter to the JCPoA, particularly with respect to the accumulation of low-enriched uranium as well as research and development.
These actions by Iran have serious consequences in terms of proliferation. That is why France, along with its E3 partners, triggered the JCPoA’s dispute resolution mechanism on January 14, to open a space for dialogue, in line with the agreement, in order to find a solution that would make it possible to preserve that agreement. Discussions were initiated and the dispute examination timeline was extended on January 24 following an agreement among the participants. Our aim remains Iran’s total return to compliance with the commitments set forth in the JCPoA.
As President Macron emphasized on March 3, France urgently calls on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA as it carries out its mission to verify Iran’s nuclear obligations. France supports the Agency’s impartial, professional work, as the minister assured its director general, Rafael Grossi, during his visit to France on March 3.
Can you comment on the ceasefire agreement concluded by the Russian and Turkish presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Idlib province, which entered into force on Friday?
France, together with its EU partners, takes note of the agreement reached yesterday by Russia and Turkey (see https://www.consilium.europa.eu/fr/press/press-releases/2020/03/06/statement-of-the-foreign-affairs-council-on-syria-and-turkey/). It is crucial that this agreement lead to an effective implementation on the ground of an immediate, lasting and verifiable cessation of hostilities.
We reiterate our call to guarantee full compliance with international humanitarian law, the protection of civilian populations, and unfettered access to humanitarian aid.
On both the national and European levels, France is stepping up its humanitarian assistance to civilians in the Idlib region, at a time when nearly a million people have been displaced and are living in extremely harsh conditions.
France reiterates that only a negotiated political settlement under the auspices of the UN, in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, can put in place the conditions for a lasting solution to the Syrian crisis.
Embassy of France in US (Daily Press Briefing)
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