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Official speeches and statements - December 13, 2021

Publié le December 13, 2021

1. Ukraine/Russia - G7 foreign ministers’ statement on Russia and Ukraine (Paris - December 12, 2021)

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine.

We call on Russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December. We reconfirm our support for the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to achieve full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in order to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response.

We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint.

We will intensify our cooperation on our common and comprehensive response.


2. Germany - Statements made by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, during his joint press conference with Ms. Annalena Baerbock, German Minister for Foreign Affairs (Paris - December 9, 2021)

Ladies and gentlemen,

FRANCO-GERMAN RELATIONS

I’m very pleased to have had a meeting in Paris today with my new German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock. I thanked her for choosing France for her first visit in her new post. This first visit is a lovely tradition in the Franco-German relationship, which I’m pleased to see being carried on not just for the benefit of our two countries but also, of course, Europe.

We’ll be seeing each other again several times in the next few days; tomorrow in Liverpool at the G7, then on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. And I look forward to continuing with Annalena the relations of trust I had with her predecessor, Heiko Maas.

As I told her, relations between the German and French foreign ministers have no equivalent. It’s really what’s so valuable about the Franco-German relationship, at the service of Europe. This relationship isn’t, of course, exclusive, but it’s essential, not to say vital, for our two peoples. It’s all the more important given that we’re at an essential moment for Germany, for France and for Europe with yesterday’s election of Chancellor Scholz, whom the President will meet [in Paris] tomorrow.

At this first meeting, we obviously spoke about the policy priorities of the German Government’s coalition contract, which to a very large extent includes those we’re going to promote on behalf of Europeans from 1 January next year, during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union. As you know, President Macron will present them today. But I can tell you now that we’re delighted not only about having a German government well in place before our presidency but also about its willingness to work with us for a greener, more social, more sovereign Europe which invests to make a success of its transition and better protect its citizens. A Europe which also increasingly shoulders its responsibilities in the international arena, in the face of a brutalization of international relations which requires Europe to be even more unfailingly determined to promote its values and interests.

MULTILATERALISM

We also noted our mutual commitment to multilateralism. France and Germany did a great deal to protect multilateralism during the Trump years. With Germany in 2019 we set up the Alliance for Multilateralism, which has already met more than 10 times and now brings together over 60 countries.

Today more than ever, we must continue promoting multilateralism together in two ways: by preserving the instruments which contribute to the stability of the international order but risk being undermined - this is what’s at stake in the negotiations under way with Iran; we’re both deeply concerned about the current negative dynamic, and we’ll spare no effort to ensure that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is preserved and strengthened - [and we’re] also [promoting multilateralism] by acting collectively with the support of the European Union and the United Nations when we can play a role on the ground. This is the case in Africa, where Europeans are present in the Sahel to fight terrorism and support political processes to gradually reduce the conditions which encourage it. Germany obviously has a crucial role to play in the Sahel Coalition framework in United Nations and European Union missions; we discussed this in detail.

Finally, we talked about the situation in Ukraine in the context of Russia’s military mobilization at its borders. We must seek de-escalation, and from this point of view we welcome the meeting between the Russian and American presidents. But it must be sought on the basis of us not being naive and of constantly striving for European unity, since our divisions would in themselves bring instability to our borders. We dealt at length with this issue and our joint efforts within the Normandy format. And I think we saw eye to eye on all these points, which the President and Chancellor will obviously discuss tomorrow. (...)

BEIJING OLYMPICS BOYCOTT

On the issue of a boycott of the Olympic Games, a political boycott of the Beijing Olympics in February, you argued for a European consultation on the issue. What does that mean? What position will France advocate in this European consultation? (...)

THE MINISTER - When we say consultation, we mean consultation. In other words, we don’t turn up and say, “this is the position we think should be reached at the end of the consultation." So we’re in favor of a common position, where we’ll weigh up all the issues at stake at the next foreign ministers’ meeting or a subsequent meeting, but the issue must be dealt with in Europe. This doesn’t prevent us, I might add, from having a very demanding position on human rights in China, which we signaled in particular when we raised concerns - which still haven’t been dispelled - about the situation of Peng Shuai, which has been in the news a lot recently, a situation we’re paying extremely close attention to. And on the issue of Xinjiang in particular, the European Union has already adopted sanctions, in March; it’s the first time since Tiananmen that sanctions have been adopted, and we’re taking this firm approach.

But as regards the issue of a diplomatic, political boycott of the coming Olympics, this will be dealt with by Europe.

(...)

UKRAINE

You mentioned the situation in Ukraine. Should there be another meeting in the Normandy format again this year, or do you declare this format dead? (...)

On Ukraine, first, I welcome the fact there’s been contact between Presidents Biden and Putin. It’s important to maintain channels of dialogue to try and bring about a de-escalation. I also note that the Normandy format hasn’t been called into question. So I repeat our common desire to get a meeting as soon as possible in the Normandy format, at ministerial level, with our Ukrainian and Russian colleagues, on the basis of the Minsk agreements, which were themselves supplemented by the conference held in Paris at the end of 2019, both on confidence-building measures, on disarmament measures, on political measures and on the status of Donbass. There’s a whole range of elements which can be discussed positively. Moreover, this had already begun, after the Paris meeting in December 2019, since there was a ceasefire which was more or less observed, there were gestures which were made on the opening of a number of crossing points, on the withdrawal of heavy weapons... In short, we know what needs to be done.

We now need the political will to do it. This political will can be expressed very clearly at a ministerial-level meeting in the Normandy format. We’re calling for this and I hope this wish will be shared by our other colleagues.


3. Algeria - Statement to the press by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, following his audience with Mr. Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Algeria (Algiers - December 8, 2021)

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m glad to be back in Algeria. I had the pleasure and honor of speaking at length to President Tebboune and my counterpart, Minister Lamamra. I’d like to thank them for their warm welcome.

It was important for me to travel to Algiers for a working visit and to assess the bilateral relationship.

The aim of this visit is twofold: to rebuild a trustful relationship between our two countries, a relationship marked by respect for each side’s sovereignty, but also to look to the future so that we can work on revitalizing and deepening our partnership, which is essential. France and Algeria have deep ties driven by the close human relations between Algerians and French people, and rooted in a complex history.

I expressed a desire to work on removing the obstacles and misunderstandings that may exist between our two countries. During our discussions, we agreed to resume a number of cooperation projects. This will be reflected in the resumption of operational dialogue between partners on human and migratory issues. It will also be reflected in the resumption of operational dialogue on the fight against terrorism, and finally it will be reflected in our joint efforts to ensure our two countries’ security.

We would like the dialogue we are relaunching today to lead to a resumption of political exchanges between our governments in 2022. Beyond the wounds of the past, which we must face up to, beyond the misunderstandings, which it is up to us to overcome, I would like our two countries together to rejoin the path to a calm relationship and be able to look to the future.

I want to repeat here that Algeria is an essential bilateral but also regional partner for France. We intend to continue coordinating our diplomatic initiatives to promote the process of political transition in Libya, following the Paris conference at which Minister Lamamra represented President Tebboune.

We also took stock of the situation in Mali, where Algeria is playing an important role. Algeria’s commitment to the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation is key to the peace process in Mali. I want to pay tribute here to this commitment and would very much like to see our dialogue continue on this.

France and Algeria together face major challenges in an uncertain regional and international environment. We must be able to propose operational responses to the challenges of terrorism in the Sahel region, but also illegal immigration and economic development issues. On all these subjects, and because our interests are shared, it is crucial we consult each other. This was the purpose of my being here today in Algiers. Thank you.


4. Human Rights - International Human Rights Day - Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs spokesperson (Paris - December 10, 2021)

On the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, France pays tribute to all those who fight every day for human rights to be respected, often risking their freedom and their lives. At a time when these rights are increasingly threatened and undermined, the battle they wage is essential for safeguarding the fundamental freedoms inherent in democracy. The Franco-German Human Rights and Rule of Law Prize will be awarded today to 15 figures who stand out because of their actions on the ground.

The defense and promotion of human rights are a priority for France’s action in the international arena. It is mobilizing its policy of cooperation and development assistance in this respect, through the implementation of the Human Rights and Development Strategy.

In conjunction with its partners, France is continuing efforts to promote gender equality, children’s rights, freedom of expression and the abolition of the death penalty.

In 2021, France hosted the Generation Equality Forum, co-organized with Mexico under the aegis of UN Women, and in partnership with civil society and young people. At it, more than $40 billion of funding was released and 1,000 pledges announced to support a Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality, including an Action Coalition dedicated to combating gender-based violence.

France is continuing its action to promote freedom of expression and access to reliable information through the International Partnership for Information and Democracy, initiated by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, with Reporters Without Borders, and supported by 43 States to date. The Call to stand up for children’s rights in the digital environment, which President Macron launched jointly with UNICEF on 11 November 2021 at the Paris Peace Forum, signals France and its partners’ active efforts to ensure children’s access to technology and digital literacy and their protection in that environment.

France, which recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty on its territory, is also continuing its commitment to its universal abolition.


5. United Nations - Sudan/South Sudan - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York - December 10, 2021)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking Special Representative Volker Perthes for his statement and by welcoming the presence among us of the representative of the Sudan.

For my part, I would like to emphasize three points.

First, Sudan’s institutions must be re-established and must be consolidated in order to move forward with the transition in Sudan.

France welcomed the reinstatement of Mr. Abdallah Hamdok as Prime Minister. International support for Sudan is based first and foremost on the foundation of a transition to civilian governance in accordance with the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people. The October 25 military coup undermined the gains of the transition. A new phase must now begin with the rapid formation of a civilian government and efforts must resume to implement the provisions of the August 2019 Constitutional Document and prepare for free and transparent elections.

France reiterates its call for the immediate release of all political detainees arrested since October 25, 2021. Respect for the right of the Sudanese people to peacefully express their opinions and for the freedom of the press are paramount. To shed light on the incidents that occurred during the recent demonstrations, France also encourages a rigorous, transparent, and independent investigation, as provided for in the political agreement of November 21, 2021.

Second, efforts must resume to fully implement the Juba Agreements.

Progress has been made with the establishment of the Joint High Military Committee for Security Arrangements and the Permanent Ceasefire Committee for Darfur. Further progress is expected with the operationalization of the independent commissions on corruption, peace, and transitional justice. Appointments to vacant positions in the judiciary must also take place and the full participation of women must be ensured, as they have played a historic role in advancing the civil transition.

Mr. President,

France is concerned about the situation in Darfur, where inter-communal conflicts have resumed in recent weeks. The protection of civilians must be the priority with the rapid implementation of the dedicated national plan and the acceleration of the deployment of the joint force. To meet the needs of the population, full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access must be guaranteed. France reiterates its call for the successful conclusion of peace negotiations between the Sudanese authorities and the movements of Abdelaziz al-Hilu and Abdelwahid Nour.

Finally - and this is my third point - the support of the United Nations and international partners must continue to support the transition.

France salutes the action of the United Nations under extremely difficult conditions in recent weeks. UNITAMS assistance must continue, and its deployment in Darfur must be accelerated.

Progress has been made in mine action with the opening of a regional training center in Omdurman, which has been supported by UNITAMS. And in the fight against terrorism, the European Union will continue to provide its full support, as well as that of the Counter-Terrorism Office, which must continue.

Finally, Mr. President, the States of the region must create the conditions for the Sudanese transition to succeed. The crisis in northern Ethiopia has led to the arrival of some 60,000 Ethiopian refugees in Sudan. France, in close liaison with its partners, supports the efforts led by the African Union’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, to facilitate a political solution to the situation in Ethiopia.

France also encourages the States concerned to resume discussions under the aegis of the African Union with a view to settling the disputes surrounding the Renaissance Dam.

Thank you Mr. President.