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Official speeches and statements - March 4, 2021

Publié le March 4, 2021

1. Iran - Conversation between Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, and Mr. Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - March 2, 2021)

On Tuesday, March 2, the President of the French Republic spoke by telephone with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Hassan Rouhani.

He reminded him of Europe’s support for Iran in tackling the pandemic and proposed stepping up cooperation to meet Iran’s vaccination needs via the COVAX Facility.

On the nuclear issue, the President of the French Republic highlighted his deep concern over Iran’s decisions in violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) (Vienna Agreement) and the need for it to once more honor its obligations and fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

After recalling the efforts from France and its partners in recent years to reach a negotiated solution, President Macron stressed the importance of Iran making clear gestures without delay so that dialogue can resume with all parties to the Vienna Agreement.

The President of the French Republic also expressed his concern at the mounting regional tensions following the attacks against Saudi Arabia and the facilities of the Global Coalition Against Daesh in Iraq.

He underlined his determination to work towards appeasement and collaborate with all parties to resolve regional crises, particularly in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. In this spirit, he wanted Iran to show restraint and to make a key contribution to security and stability in the Middle East.

2. Algeria - Acknowledgement by France of the murder of Ali Boumendjel - Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic (Paris - March 2, 2021)

On January 20, in accordance with the task the French President had entrusted to him, Benjamin Stora submitted his report on the memories of Algeria’s colonization and the Algerian War. Among its recommendations was that France should acknowledge the murder of Ali Boumendjel, a lawyer and political leader of Algerian nationalism.

Ali Boumendjel was born on May 23, 1919 in Relizane, in a highly talented family steeped in travel, culture and political struggles. From his father, a primary school teacher, he inherited a taste for knowledge. The brilliant schoolboy had no trouble finding his way onto the Law Faculty of Algiers. Endowed with an open, generous, humanist culture drawing on Enlightenment sources, Ali Boumendjel soon became involved in politics, opposing the injustice of the colonial system and supporting Algerian independence. The speech he delivered to the World [Peace] Congress in Helsinki in 1955 testified to his commitment to peace.

In the midst of the Battle of Algiers, he was arrested by the French army, held incommunicado, tortured, then murdered on March 23, 1957. Paul Aussaresses himself admitted ordering one of his subordinates to kill him and disguise the crime as suicide.

Ali Boumendjel passed on an important political legacy. His struggles and his courage left an indelible mark on Algerian and French minds, including that of René Capitant, who had been his teacher.

Ali Boumendjel left behind his wife, Malika, and his four children, then aged between 20 months and seven years: Nadir, Sami, Farid and Dalila. Malika Boumendjel passed away a short time ago; she would have been 102 today. She had made it her life’s work to discover the truth about the circumstances behind the deaths of her husband, her father Belkacem Amrani, her brother André Amrani and their friend Selhi Mohand, all of whom disappeared in 1957. She wanted the truth to be known and acknowledged by everyone, for the sake of her family, history, Algeria, and France, where some of her children and grandchildren were building their lives.

Today, the President received four of Ali Boumendjel’s grandchildren at the Elysée Palace to tell them, on France’s behalf, what Malika Boumendjel would have wanted to hear: Ali Boumendjel did not commit suicide. He was tortured, then murdered.

He also told them he wanted to continue the work begun several years ago to collect testimonies and encourage the work of historians by opening up archives so that all the families of those who went missing, on both sides of the Mediterranean, could be given the means to discover the truth. This work will be extended and deepened over the coming months so that we can move towards healing and reconciliation.

Looking history in the face and acknowledging the truth of the facts will not enable us to close what are still open wounds, but will help us find a path for the future.

Ali Boumendjel’s grandchildren’s generation must be able to build their future, far from the pitfalls of amnesia and resentment. It is for their sake now, for the sake of young French and Algerian people, that we must move forward on the path of truth, the only one, which can lead to a reconciliation of memories.

It was in this spirit that the President wished to make this gesture of acknowledgement, which is not a one-off.

No crime, no atrocity committed by anyone during the Algerian War can be excused or covered up. They must be examined with courage and clear-sightedness, with absolute respect for all those whose lives they tore apart and whose destinies they shattered.

3. European Union - Russia - EU sanctions - Global human rights sanctions regime: EU sanctions four people responsible for serious human rights violations in Russia (Brussels - March 2, 2021)

The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures on four Russian individuals responsible for serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as widespread and systematic repression of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and freedom of opinion and expression in Russia.

Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Zolotov, Head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, Head of the Federal Prison Service have been listed over their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment.

This is the first time that the EU imposes sanctions in the framework of the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime which was established on December 7, 2020. The sanctions regime enables the EU to target those responsible for acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses such as torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions.

The restrictive measures that entered into force today in follow-up to discussions by the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 February 2021 consist of a travel ban and asset freeze. In addition, persons and entities in the EU are forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly.

[source of English text: Council of the European Union]

4. United Nations - South Sudan - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, at the Security Council (New York - March 3, 2021)

[translation from French]

Madam President,

I would like to echo my colleagues in the Council in beginning this statement by warmly congratulating the United Kingdom mission team and Ambassador Barbara Woodward for their presidency of the Council in February, and to wish you every success for the United States presidency of the Council this March.

Madam President,

I would like to start by thanking Mr. Shearer for his briefing and congratulating him for his work heading the UNMISS and his absolutely outstanding and tireless work over the past four years. I would also like to commend the extremely interesting briefing by Jackline Nasiwa to the Council today.

I would like to make the following four points.

France welcomes the recent progress observed in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, which shows the Government’s political will. The appointment of all governors, a majority of deputy governors and the appointments made at the county level are important decisions. I also welcome the announcement of the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, which has yet to be formalized through the signing of a memorandum with the African Union. In this regard, we welcome the role played by the region in encouraging this progress.

This momentum should be maintained and continued through the adoption of new measures. It is indeed high time to proceed with a number of them, starting with the formation of the transitional national legislative assembly. This is an essential step in order to make the necessary progress in terms of financial transparency in particular and for the approval of the budget, for example. I am also thinking of the quick setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I am also thinking of the security sector reform, which must start so as to establish the framework for security forces with adequate numbers of personnel under the authority of the civilian power. The impasse in the establishment of unified forces is concerning. We call for compliance with the 35% quota set for the participation of women in institutions established by the peace agreement. And we also encourage the authorities to support the participation of youth in all relevant processes.

Madam President,

The consolidation of a political dynamic is essential at a time when violence, the persistence of human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, as well as food insecurity threaten to jeopardize the progress made since 2018. The development of local violence, which is often connected to the interference of national players has a direct and strong effect on populations, particularly women and children. We also strongly condemn the violence that followed the defections of officers.

The factors of conflict are aggravated by the deterioration of the humanitarian, health and economic situation. France calls on all parties to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. We condemn the attacks against humanitarian workers. Such violence must not go unpunished, and it is important that the perpetrators of such acts be sanctioned by this Council and brought to justice. At a time when humanitarian needs are enormous, some regions are on the brink of famine and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, humanitarian and medical personnel should be able to have unhindered access and without fear of being targeted. It is also essential to ensure fair access to the COVID-19 vaccine, in line with recently adopted Resolution 2565.

In this difficult context, France commends UNMISS for its commitment but also for all its efforts to adapt. I am thinking in particular of the transfer of responsibility for the sites for protection of civilians to South Sudanese authorities, even if, of course, the utmost caution is necessary to ensure these civilians are indeed protected. This process has effectively put the South Sudanese authorities in a position to perform this essential function, while at the same time freeing up capacity within UNMISS. The model of mobile courts is another illustration, which has improved prosecution of cases of sexual violence.

The renewal of the mission’s mandate by March 15 should build on these positive examples, so that the South Sudanese authorities can continue to build capacity, with the support of UNMISS. Beyond the expected political progress that I have just outlined, this requires a trust to be built between the Government and UNMISS. In this regard, I recall that all restrictions on the mission’s freedom of movement are unacceptable.

Thank you.