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Lutte contre le terrorisme au Sahel : Le Ministre Français de la diplomatie menace le Burkina

Le ministre français des Affaires étrangères, Jean Yves Le Drian, était à Kosyam le 8 janvier dernier où il a rencontré le président du Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré avec lequel il a abordé des sujets relatifs à la coopération économique, sociale et surtout sécuritaire entre la France et le pays des Hommes intègres.

La France, en tant que premier partenaire bilatéral du Burkina, entend, foi de Le Drian,  reconduire les aides participant au développement économique et social de notre pays, notamment dans les domaines humanitaire et sanitaire. Le ministre français a profité de son séjour ouagalais pour aborder avec son hôte, l’inévitable question de la sécurité dans les pays du Sahel et de la contribution de l’Hexagone dans la lutte contre le terrorisme dans cet espace.

A l’heure où la France cherche à s’extirper du bourbier sahélien avec la réduction annoncée de ses troupes, Jean Yves Le Drian a opportunément rappelé qu’il appartenait, à terme, aux États africains d’assurer leur propre sécurité, car la France qui a jusqu’ici été en première ligne dans la défense de l’intégrité territoriale de bon nombre de pays africains, est financièrement à bout de souffle. Si on ajoute à cela le bilan plus que mitigé des différentes opérations militaires de l’armée française dans les pays du Sahel et les opinions publiques de plus en plus vent debout contre le paternalisme de la France vis-à-vis de ses anciennes colonies, on comprend aisément l’air navré de Jean Yves Le Drian quand il évoque à demi-mots la probable réduction des effectifs de la force Barkhane, sans doute après le sommet France-G5 Sahel de Ndjamena, en février prochain. C’est triste de le dire,  soixante ans après les indépendances, si la France abandonne aujourd’hui le théâtre des opérations aux armées des pays sahéliens, les terroristes risquent de gagner du terrain à moins que nos États ne développent des initiatives locales comme le renforcement de la coopération sur les plans militaires et du renseignement, l’ouverture de négociations entre les protagonistes et la mise en place de plans et programmes de développement des zones défavorisées.

Il va falloir qu’on se serre les coudes pour faire face à toutes les éventualités

Malheureusement, force est de reconnaître que depuis que les arsenaux militaires de la Libye de Mouammar Kadhafi sont tombés dans de mauvaises mains à la chute du dictateur en 2011,  toutes les initiatives de développement endogène prises par les différents gouvernements au profit des zones touchées par l’insécurité, sont aujourd’hui au bord du collapse si elles n’ont pas été tout simplement abandonnées. Le retour à la paix dans nos différents pays est donc plus qu’un impératif, et il faut reconnaître qu’il n’appartient pas à la France de jouer éternellement le rôle de pays providentiel dans la sécurisation de nos territoires en butte aux attaques terroristes.

Si militairement, il nous est impossible de gagner cette guerre asymétrique et absurde, alors pourquoi ne pas instaurer le dialogue entre belligérants afin de trouver la solution ? Il y a des signes encourageants qui indiquent que les dirigeants maliens et certains groupes armés adhèrent désormais à cette stratégie pour sortir de la crise, comme par exemple le dialogue entre frères ennemis de la CMA et de la Plateforme au Mali, qui a abouti à un accord le 8 janvier dernier, sur la gestion de la commune d’Aguelhok qui a été au centre de vives tensions entre les Touaregs de la région de Kidal. Cette bourgade de l’extrême Nord du Mali, a été, on s’en souvient, la cible de l’attaque meurtrière qui a déclenchée cette interminable crise malienne, qui s’est soldée par la mort de plus d’une centaine de soldats maliens en janvier 2012. Depuis, Aguelhok était convoitée à la fois par les autonomistes Touaregs, les desperados salafistes et les supplétifs de l’armée malienne, accentuant ainsi la déchirure et compliquant du coup tous les efforts de pacification fournis par la communauté internationale à travers le déploiement de la MINUSMA.

Maintenant que deux des principaux acteurs de la lutte pour le contrôle d’Aguelhok, ont eu la sagesse de s’asseoir sous la même tente et de se parler de mano a mano, on a abouti à un accord sur la gestion commune de la cité ; ce qui va faire baisser la tension et étendre possiblement ce mode de gestion de crise à d’autres zones crisogènes du Mali et même de ses voisins. Du reste, au Burkina comme au Niger, il y a des zones où des massacres se perpétraient de jour comme de nuit il y a seulement quelques mois, et qui peuvent aujourd’hui être considérées comme étant en convalescence de l’horreur, bien que le problème sécuritaire soit loin d’être réglé. S’agit-il d’un cessez-le-feu en trompe-l’œil, ou d’un retour progressif à la paix définitive suite à des négociations souterraines ? Bien malin qui pourra y répondre, mais les derniers développements dans les provinces du Yagha et du Yatenga au Burkina Faso ainsi que dans la région de Tillabéry au Niger, n’incitent guère à l’optimisme. Il va falloir donc qu’on se serre les coudes pour faire face à toutes les éventualités, comme le désengagement progressif de la France et la recrudescence des attaques terroristes. Car, il est paradoxal de tirer à boulets rouges sur la France au nom d’un nationalisme étriqué, et être incapable de défendre l’intégrité de son territoire sans appeler la même France à la rescousse. C’est ce message que le diplomate français est venu transmettre très diplomatiquement au président du Faso, vendredi dernier. A bon entendeur, salut !

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Author: Nouveau Réveil

Croatie – Déplacement de Jean-Yves Le Drian (14.01.21)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, ministre de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, se rendra à Zagreb en Croatie le jeudi 14 janvier.

Le ministre sera reçu par Zoran Milanovic, Président de la République de Croatie, et s’entretiendra avec Andrej Plenkovic, Premier ministre et Gordan Grlic-Radman, ministre des Affaires étrangères et européennes.

Jean-Yves Le Drian évoquera avec ses interlocuteurs le dynamisme de nos relations bilatérales incarné par l’existence, depuis 2010, d’un partenariat stratégique entre nos deux pays décliné en plan d’action. Il abordera les grands dossiers de l’actualité européenne dans la perspective de la présidence française du Conseil de l’Union européenne au premier semestre 2022, la situation dans les Balkans occidentaux et les derniers développements liés au Brexit. Jean-Yves Le Drian évoquera également les grandes questions internationales.

Deux semaines après le séisme qui a frappé la Croatie, causant la mort de 7 personnes et de nombreux dégâts matériels, M. Le Drian se rendra à proximité de l’épicentre pour manifester la solidarité et l’amitié de la France envers le peuple et les autorités croates. La France a immédiatement envoyé 240 tentes et plusieurs containers/habitations d’urgence.

Le ministre visitera l’école française internationale de Zagreb qui forme, avec l’école allemande, l’un des cinq eurocampus franco-allemands dans le monde.


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Official speeches and statements – January 11, 2021

1. Egypt – Visit by Jean-Yves Le Drian – Statement issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Cairo – January 11, 2021)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will visit Egypt on January 11.

The minister will take part in a working meeting devoted to the Middle East peace process together with his Egyptian, German and Jordanian counterparts. This is the third meeting in this format. In the positive regional context linked to the normalization and re-establishment of relations between Israel and several Arab states, the aim is, at the same time, to help bring about the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, with a view toward resolving the conflict within the framework of international law and the agreed parameters.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will also have bilateral exchanges with the Egyptian authorities. The minister will notably discuss the regional crises on which our countries maintain close dialogue, especially Libya, the Middle East peace process, Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean.


2. United Nations – UNOWAS – Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations, to the Security Council (New York – January 11, 2021)

Mr. President,

I thank the Special Representative, Mr. Ibn Chambas, for his briefing. I would like to underline two points.

First, on the elections that have recently taken place in several West African countries.

Those elections are a sign of the consolidation of democratic institutions in the region. However, they have posed a number of challenges. Some were marked by high tensions and restrictions on civil freedoms. France condemned the violence that caused a number of deaths on the margins of some of the elections.

In Guinea, we encourage all stakeholders to take responsibility and exercise the utmost restraint. We also call on the authorities to take concrete decisions regarding dialogue and openness towards the opposition. The issue here is to allowing reconciliation among all Guineans. They deserve a peaceful political climate and an effective improvement in governance, which are the foundation of the country’s development.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the objective of all must now be appeasement. We note that President Ouattara announced new gestures during his investiture speech. I am thinking in particular of the appointment of a Minister of National Reconciliation and the reform of the Independent Electoral Commission. These are positive initiatives. Other measures could usefully be taken to contribute to the appeasement and reconciliation process, particularly with the view towards the legislative elections.

Finally, in Ghana, the elections were held in exemplary conditions that are a credit to the country’s democratic tradition and to the civic sense of the Ghanaian people.

My second point refers to the situation in the Sahel.

Despite immense challenges, the elections in Burkina Faso and the first round of the presidential election in Niger were held without major security incidents and in a serene atmosphere. In Burkina Faso, the entire political class demonstrated a spirit of consensus. In Niger, President Issoufou’s decision to not run for a third term was a factor in reducing tension. As a primary partner to Niger, we will continue to closely follow the preparation for and holding of the second round of the presidential election. In this regard, we deplore the attacks of January 2, which claimed the lives of several civilians, and extend our condolences to the people and government of Niger.

The security situation remains the main challenge in the Sahel. France pays tribute to the memory of the soldiers who recently lost their lives, including five French nationals. This painful news should not overshadow the successes of the Barkhane operation and the G5 Sahel. The terrorists continue to harass, but they are being pushed back. And the joint operations of France and its partners will continue.

Mr. President,

The mobilization in the face of the magnitude of the challenges in the Sahel remains insufficient. In the spirit of the Coalition for the Sahel, we should combine security support with support for governance, human rights and development. At the national level, we encourage the authorities of the Sahel countries to strengthen the presence of the State in outlying areas. At the international level, the G5 Sahel joint force deserves greater support, including from the United Nations. We also welcome the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. We encourage its implementation in a more pragmatic and concrete manner. It must rapidly produce the results expected by the populations.

Thank you.


3. Council of Ministers – Brexit – Implementation of the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom – Statement (Paris – January 6, 2021)

The Prime Minister made a statement on the implementation of the trade and partnership agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom signed on December 30, 2020.

After nearly 10 months of intense negotiations, on December 24, 2020 the European and British negotiators reached an agreement on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. It was signed on December 30 by the President of the [European] Commission and the President of the European Council on the one hand, and the British Prime Minister on the other. It comprises three texts: a trade and cooperation agreement, a civil nuclear cooperation agreement and an agreement on procedures for exchanging classified information.

Given the late completion of the negotiations, since January 1, 2021 these agreements have been implemented provisionally to begin with, and will be approved by the European Parliament and adopted by the Council of the European Union only once they have been translated into all of the European Union’s languages.

The completion of these unprecedented negotiations aimed at organizing the exit of a European Union Member State was facilitated by the Member States’ unity and solidarity in support of the European negotiator, Mr. Michel Barnier, to defend the European Union’s interests.

This solidarity is also an essential asset which must be preserved for the next part of the process concerned with actually implementing the commitments made. The Europeans come out of these negotiations conscious of their strength, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic at the same time increased their solidarity economically and in terms of health. In the coming months, the European Union will have to ensure that the measures to implement the agreement are as robust and precise as possible. The European Union must therefore be able to react swiftly and in accordance with its interests should disagreements arise, particularly on fair competition conditions and fisheries.

Thanks to the 2019 withdrawal agreement, the fundamental interests have not been challenged (regarding peace in Ireland, European citizens’ rights and financial regulation).

The agreement signed on December 30 enables the cost of separation to be mitigated: in the field of goods trade and transport, in the security field to maintain a level of police and judicial cooperation in the interest of all citizens, and, of course, in the field of fisheries. In addition, the European Union has been able to strictly frame the scope of partnership in other areas like financial services, and to guarantee respect for fair competition conditions, particularly in the areas of State aid, of health, environmental and social standards, and of rules of origin. Even though the no-deal scenario was anticipated and prepared for, the cost of a no-deal would have been much greater for all economic stakeholders, starting with fishermen, who would have had to undergo the closure of British waters.

The United Kingdom’s situation is now clear: as it is no longer a member of the European Union, it no longer enjoys its benefits. It thus returns to a system of customs, health and phytosanitary declarations and checks at the EU’s borders. Economic operators may request exemptions from customs duties, but on condition that they observe the rules on the origin of goods. The UK no longer enjoys the free movement of services or freedom of establishment. There is no longer any automatic recognition of qualifications. Finally, the UK no longer enjoys the free movement of people. British and European people will no longer be able to travel, study or work freely, as they could when the UK was in the EU. However, the EU and the UK have decided on visa exemptions for short visits of up to 90 days. Travelers will be subject to the customs and veterinary rules applicable to third countries.

The agreement lays the foundations for a new and ambitious relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Indeed, it is the most advanced trade agreement between the European Union and a third country. Following its withdrawal from the European Union, the UK also remains a major partner of both the European Union and France, particularly in terms of diplomacy, defense and security.


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Official speeches and statements – December 28, 2020

1. Brexit – Statement issued by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and M. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris, 24/12/2020)

After several months of difficult and sometimes tense discussions, the European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the EU, and the United Kingdom reached an agreement today.

France welcomes the fact that throughout the negotiations, the unity and resolve of the 27 member states never wavered.

As France has always maintained, reaching a good agreement with the United Kingdom is key to ensuring the protection of our citizens, our producers and our fishermen.

Significant progress has been made, including in the final hours of the negotiations. We must now verify that our key points have been fully taken into consideration.

France will continue to work resolutely toward promoting a strong, united and sovereign Europe./.


2. European affairs – COVID-19 – United Kingdom – Brexit – European Union – Interview given by M. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to BFM TV (Paris, 23/12/2020)

(…)

A – On the situation with the United Kingdom, on Sunday we adopted an emergency and precautionary measure, which was severe but necessary for health protection, given the alerts we received over the weekend from the British authorities. And on Sunday evening we said, particularly for our nationals, that we were searching for a solution and encouraging them to carry out PCR tests, because those are the most comprehensive ones.

And yesterday evening, after discussions with our European partners, after talks with the British authorities, we announced a pragmatic and safe solution for our nationals in particular. If you’re a French national, a European national in the UK or a permanent British resident in France, you can return on the strict condition that prior to embarkation you present a negative test taken under 72 hours earlier – a PCR test or, to facilitate things, an antigen test, because it’s quicker, less costly, and we’ve even very specifically created a list on the Internet showing the full list of antigen tests that are recognized and sensitive to the new version of the virus.

Does this mean you believe the situation is, from a health viewpoint, sufficiently under control to authorize these returns with a test, even though, as we know, the tests aren’t always reliable, particularly the antigen tests?

A – Well, we’re being very cautious. The principle remains that you mustn’t travel. So it’s not an encouragement to come for just any reason. But this is a festive period, we have our nationals: we always seek solutions for our nationals, that’s our responsibility. So it’s very regulated. But we believe it’s sufficiently safe and reliable to have a PCR test under 72 hours old or, you’re right, antigen tests are sometimes a bit less sensitive, a bit less reliable – that’s why we have a very specific list [of tests] which we know are sensitive to variants of the virus, which we defined yesterday with our Health Ministry and which is specified on the Internet for everyone who wants to take them.

I also want to say that France carried out this European coordination. We’re not the only ones with these few limited flexibilities. But we also have a special role, because movement, particularly of goods between France and the UK, is movement for the whole of Europe. We’re the hub, as it were, the platform, the central node of the relationship between the UK and Europe – through the Channel Tunnel, through the arrival of goods. So we also had to oversee things, but leave this specific crossing that was safe and regulated in health terms.

Just on the PCR tests: indeed, you emphasized the cost, in some cases up to euro200. Well, when it’s a family… that’s huge!

A – Of course. I want to say that in France the tests are free – which also carries a cost for our compatriots – and that the Government is legitimately making efforts to facilitate these tests. And that’s not the case for everyone, including in the United Kingdom. It’s costly and it’s sometimes lengthy. That’s why we said on Sunday evening, “if you can do it, do it”. And the antigen tests are often a lot faster, more easily available, and less costly. So that’s also one of the reasons why, given that they’re reliable for the variant of the virus, we authorized them.

Will there be enough trains, enough planes, enough boats to repatriate everyone who wants to be? Because you’re asking for a special effort from Eurostar, for example…

A – I talked to the Minister [Delegate] for Transport, M. Djebbari, again yesterday. We’ll adapt the provision as much as possible to the necessary traffic. For the time being, what we’ve seen instead is that in recent days the traffic on trains and planes has been quite low. There will probably be a slight increase linked to the festive period. But we’ll adapt the provision as much as possible together with the operators, of course, so that it goes ahead smoothly.

Earlier you mentioned the lorries everyone’s talking about – we’ve seen those endless queues in southern England, those lorries waiting to cross the Channel. So can they do so, also using the same method?

A – Using the same method. That’s why we took a few hours longer, because it’s not about laying down a principle, things have to work in real life, so together with the British Transport Secretary, the British Government, we identified places where lorry drivers, before crossing to the other side, before embarking, particularly via the Tunnel, will be able to have quick antigen tests. That’s being organized with the British authorities, because you’ve got to have significant places to organize all that. We’ve seen queues of lorries – you showed it in the picture, it’s very striking. It’s not a political decision, we took a health decision. But I really want to say to all those who explain to us that the only response to everything is always to close borders permanently, definitively, that it’s not as simple as that: on the contrary. And it sometimes penalizes our factories – as we saw with Toyota – and our economy. So we’re going to find solutions that are safe in health terms, with these tests carried out before embarkation.

Is there a risk of shortages? Because, well, we can clearly see not all those lorries are going to be able to return as quickly as planned.

A – No, there’s no risk shortages for France or for us – none. There are difficulties for some businesses, for fresh or very fresh produce. It’s been difficult because produce has been lost, there’s a wait of a few days, we can clearly see things move quite fast. That’s also one of the reasons why we wanted to authorize these crossings again, through a highly-regulated health protocol, but no, let’s not frighten people, there’s no risk of shortages. It penalizes the British much more, who have accumulated stocks in recent weeks in the run-up to Brexit, as we’ve seen.

One last word on the UK: you’ve taken a decision which is still temporary?

A – Yes, until 6 January.

ntil 6 January? Is that because after 6 January the situation ma change again depending on the spread of the epidemic in the UK?

A – Exactly. We must constantly adapt to the health information. So like Germany, we’ve taken a measure until 6 January and we’ll adapt the arrangements in the very first days of 2021 if need be.

A question now on the vaccine and European cooperation because, as we know, the 27 members of the European Union are going to launch this vaccination campaign at the same time. Can you also confirm this morning that it won’t be 27 [December] for some and 28 for others?

A – We’ve given a launch window because countries can organize themselves a bit differently. There are some countries where Sunday is a day for visits etc., to nursing homes or old people’s homes, so everyone can be slightly flexible. But we have a three-day window – I think, after all, it’s well coordinated – during which Europeans together will launch the vaccination period. The first phase – and in most of the countries it’ll be Sunday: the Health Minister said so for France, and that will also be the case for Germany. It’s honestly a real European success: we’re buying more cheaply. We were talking about the UK; in the UK the doses being purchased are up to 1.5 times, two times higher, more costly, than in France, thanks to the European purchase we made together. So I also want to emphasize this aspect: we’re better protected, at a lower cost, and with coordinated vaccination in Europe.

Look at the pictures, live from Belgium, where lorries are clustering around a factory to pick up the first vaccines and take them to France, among other places.

A – Absolutely. It’s a factory in Belgium that is producing the first vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. I stress that it’s also this factory that produces the vaccines that were delivered to the UK a few days ago. So you see, again, that the European dimension is strong and we can’t cut ourselves off from one another. Those lorries are going to bring the first doses to France in the next few hours.

What we’ve managed to do on the vaccine – European cooperation – we can’t manage to do on the closure of borders with the UK, where everyone’s gone off in every direction, in a way. Is it more complicated?

A – I’m happy for people to criticize, but look honestly at what happened on Sunday. The French President spoke to Chancellor Merkel on Sunday morning and 18 European countries took a measure closing [their borders] in the course of Sunday. We didn’t hang around, we coordinated, we did the same thing, more or less, but broadly speaking we honestly did the same thing, and today we’re in the process of coordinating so that the test protocols etc… are the same between the UK and the other European countries. It’s not all perfect, but when you see the vaccine, when you see those measures, to be honest, Health Europe has really taken giant steps in the space of a few weeks


3. United Kingdom – Limited resumption of the movement of people from the United Kingdom to France subject to negative health tests sensitive to the variant – Communiqué issued by the Government (Paris, 22/12/2020)

At midnight on Sunday 20 December, in view of the rapid development in the United Kingdom of the VUI-2020-12-01 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, France – the first land, sea and air border for exchanges between the UK and the territory of the European area – totally suspended the movement of people and road transport from that country for 48 hours. Other suspension decisions were taken simultaneously in the majority of countries in the EU and beyond.

This period allowed consultation between the European Commission and the Member States based on the public health risk analysis published on 20 December by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as well as constructive bilateral discussions between the French and British Governments.

In view of this situation, as from midnight on 22 December only the following categories of people will be authorized to travel in France or enter from the UK:

  • French people and nationals of the European area;

British or third-country nationals who either normally live in France, the European Union or the European area, or must make essential journeys as listed in the annex.

Travel by the categories of people concerned will automatically be subject to the requirement to have, prior to departure, the result of a negative test taken less than 72 hours earlier.

Whatever their nationality, all travellers will therefore be subject to the requirement to present to the airline or ferry or train company a document from a testing laboratory showing a negative result from a SARS-CoV-2 test. Staff responsible for border checks will thus be able to verify this.

In the absence of PCR tests, antigen tests sensitive to the VUI-2020-12-01 test will be authorized; a list of these will be published by the Ministry for Solidarity and Health.

Specific details of the resumption of goods traffic by road will be provided in the next few hours.

These arrangements will apply at least until 6 January, subject to any possible bilateral or European re-examination that might occur in the meantime.

Annex

Exemptions authorizing entry to French territory by British or third-country nationals entering France from the UK:

  • Third-country nationals holding a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa, whose main residence is in France or who are travelling via France to their main residence in a European Union or associated country;
  • Third-country nationals spending less than 24 hours in international transit areas;
  • Members of delegations on official missions, staff of diplomatic or consular missions, or members of international organizations with headquarters or offices in France, and their spouses or children;
  • Foreign health professionals involved in combating COVID-19;
  • Foreign crews or staff working on passenger and cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to their starting point;
  • Foreign nationals transporting goods internationally;
  • Drivers or crew members of passenger coaches or trains;
  • Crew members or people working on commercial or fishing vessels;
  • Students holding long-stay visas, short-stay visas for studies or internships (except short-stay student examination visas) or coming for fewer than 90 days from countries exempt from the short-stay visa requirement, or school-age minors with proof of accommodation in France;
  • Teachers or researchers employed or invited by French educational institutions or research laboratories, who are travelling for the purposes of study and teaching;
  • Third-country nationals with long-stay “talent passport” visas;

People with travel passes issued by the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate for Foreigners in France for the purposes of business, to be with a spouse or for medical reasons./.


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Author: ADMIN-WDC

Santé mondiale – Visioconférence sur l’Académie de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (18.12.20)

Le ministre de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, le ministre des Solidarités et de la Santé, M. Olivier Véran, et la ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation, Mme Frédérique Vidal, ont organisé le 18 décembre 2020 avec le Directeur général de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé, Docteur Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, une réunion de présentation du projet d’Académie de l’OMS.

M. Grégory Doucet, Maire de Lyon, M. Bruno Bernard, Président de la Métropole du Grand Lyon, et M. Yannick Neuder, Vice-Président du Conseil régional d’Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, participaient à la rencontre. M. Xavier Darcos, Chancelier de l’Institut, était également invité.

Le projet d’Académie de l’OMS a été lancé par le président de la République et le Directeur général de l’OMS, le 11 juin 2019 à Genève.

L’Académie de l’OMS, qui sera établie à Lyon, a vocation à devenir la structure internationale de référence pour la formation des professionnels de santé mais aussi des responsables politiques, des dirigeants d’entreprise et des représentants de la société civile sur les grands enjeux de la santé publique mondiale (notamment en réponse aux crises sanitaires, à la protection des personnels, à la sensibilisation des populations). Elle pourra former chaque année, via des pédagogies innovantes, jusqu’à 10 millions de personnes en ligne et 60 000 personnes en présentiel.

L’Académie sera officiellement lancée en mai 2021 lors de l’Assemblée mondiale de la santé, puis installée à partir de 2023 dans le bâtiment qui sera construit à Lyon, dans le Biodistrict Lyon-Gerland. Elle constituera un pôle de rayonnement mondial pour la France et la région lyonnaise, ses acteurs scientifiques et académiques et son tissu d’entreprises. L’Académie est une traduction concrète de l’engagement de la France à promouvoir une santé intégrée qui repose sur des formations pluridisciplinaires.

Soutenu par l’État, les collectivités territoriales et l’OMS, le projet d’Académie mobilise également le secteur privé. Plusieurs entreprises (Mérieux, Sanofi, Total, la Compagnie nationale du Rhône, JC Decaux) ont d’ores et déjà fait part de leur soutien. Une fondation, hébergée par l’Institut de France, vient par ailleurs d’être créée pour recueillir les premières contributions financières. M. Gérard Mestrallet a été chargé par le gouvernement du développement des partenariats privés de l’Académie.

La réunion a été l’occasion de présenter de manière détaillée le projet d’Académie, ses objectifs et son calendrier de mise en œuvre. Elle a aussi permis de réitérer l’engagement très fort de l’ensemble des parties prenantes pour mener à bien ce projet très structurant pour la santé mondiale.


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Official speeches and statements – December 17, 2020

1. Brexit – Situation of fishermen in the face of Brexit – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate (Paris, 16/12/2020)

I’m aware of your commitment to fishermen, through your previous position, as you’ve recalled; I think you’re aware of mine. And both of us, but also others here, sense disquiet on the quayside over negotiations that still haven’t ended, even as I speak.

Faced with this, our determination on fisheries is total. The President had the opportunity to say this very firmly to the Commission President, Ms von der Leyen, on Sunday evening. Under no circumstances, for us, must fishing be an adjustment variable, so it mustn’t be the focus of a separate agreement, because it’s an integral part of the whole trade agreement, and so it’s inextricable from it.

If the British want privileged access to the internal market, then French and European fishermen must have access to British waters, i.e. what is at stake, as you know: not only consistent access but an across-the-board, comprehensive approach that is not selective according to species or zones; secondly, clear and common technical standards, including on the size of nets, meshing etc. and trawling gear. And finally, taking into account historical rights and the current quota system. That’s what is still on the negotiating table at the moment.

Even so – and you’re right to emphasize it -, whatever happens, even in the event of a deal, the situation will be different, and the Prime Minister announced in Boulogne-sur-Mer just a few days ago that an action and support plan will be very quickly put in place, with dedicated actions for the fishing industry. And we also know that a sizeable portion of the Brexit fund decided on as part of the euro5 billion of commitments made at the European Council a few days ago will be devoted to fisheries, whatever happens.

As you see, we’re determined when it comes to vigilance, but also determined when it comes to support./.


2. Brexit – Support for ports – Reply by Mme Barbara Pompili, Minister for the Ecological Transition, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris, 15/12/2020)

The President was clear on 14 July: France is a leading maritime power and is going to increase its resources to rise to the level of its ambitions. As you know, these are threefold: to boost the competitiveness and sovereignty of our ports, to make them stakeholders in our regions’ intermodality and economic development, and to speed up the greening and digital transition of the sector.

You asked me more specifically, given the period, about the impact of Brexit on our French sea ports. I can confirm to you that we’re obviously following this issue closely. For the time being, we haven’t chosen the option of free ports or special economic zones, unlike the United Kingdom, but we’ll be proposing several measures as part of the strategy that will be presented in the new year.

I remind you that we’ve already implemented several measures, stipulated in particular in the road map that was presented at the end of 2019 to CIMer, the Interministerial Committee for the Sea, and which we’re currently deepening. Since this summer, we’ve been redoubling our efforts. For example, in September we announced massive investments under the recovery plan, euro400 million of which will be dedicated to the maritime and river sectors and euro200 million to the creation of rolling highways for freight, enabling us to link the major ports by rail – Calais and Sète in particular, but also Cherbourg and Dunkirk, which is close to your own heart.

In October, the Minister of Marine Affairs and the Minister Delegate for Transport signed a ports charter with the employers and unions in which the whole logistical chain commits itself to strengthening French ports.

Finally, in November, we laid new milestones for the Haropa plan [to integrate ports on the Seine], among other things by appointing an interim director-general. Talks are continuing in order to deepen this major ports project.

As you know, the national strategy will be presented at the beginning of next year. It’s been the focus of consultation with all the stakeholders, and the Minister Delegate for Transport has confirmed that the nation’s elected representatives will of course be involved in monitoring this work. We’ll then be excellently placed to ensure the French flag flies high./.


3. Indonesia – Press release by M. Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness (Jakarta, 16/12/2020)

Thank you good afternoon everybody, it’s a pleasure to be here, to have this moment of exchange, because it is an important visit for me and my delegation in Indonesia. Because this year is the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties, it is very important for me and for France to be here, to send a message of friendship and of willingness to increase the relationship between France and Indonesia.

Indonesia in our strategy is crucial because Indonesia is at the heart of ASEAN and of the Indo-Pacific area. President Macron and France want to increase their relationship, their friendship with the indo-pacific area. And the centrality of ASEAN is very important to us, and to Indonesia due to its demography, due to the values we share, democracy, rule of law, the willingness to develop sustainable development, is very important in this strategy. So, in this time of virus, COVID-19, I wanted to come here in Jakarta. I came with the personal representative of our Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, François Corbin, who is just behind you. He is also the vice-president of Medef International, a business association for international trade, and that means that we want not only to develop our political and diplomatic relationships with Indonesia, but also our business relationships and partnership, in different ways.

First, we want to export more products, more services to Indonesia. We want to import more products, more services from Indonesia. We want to invest more in Indonesia, thanks to our investors and companies, as we want – and I have met with some Indonesian investors this noon – to welcome more Indonesian investors in France, because France is becoming more and more attractive. In 2019, France was the most attractive country in Europe, in terms of FDI, and we want to create more partnerships between Indonesian and French companies. I had the opportunity to visit yesterday a steel plant between WIKA and Matière, which is a steel plant to build bridges and that is a good symbol of what we want to do in the future, to deepen and strengthen our business relationships with Indonesia.

And that’s what we saw with the different ministers I have met – I met the minister of trade, the minister of maritime affairs, Mr. Luhut, I met the minister of communication and technology of information, I met the deputy minister for foreign affairs, and the secretary general of ASEAN, by videoconference. We discussed and we converged that there are many sectors in which France and its companies could create partnerships, could be useful and could be a good partner for Indonesia and Indonesian companies, in infrastructures, in environment, in new tech, in technologies of communication, in the health sector, in new energy or renewable energies, nuclear power, and so on, and many other sectors.

So, in two days, I had the opportunity to meet ministers, to meet businessmen, to meet investors, to meet the French community as well. It is not so easy with the COVID-19 measures, but I succeeded thanks to Mr Ambassador and his team to meet some French businessmen from the French Community, and it was the opportunity for me to tell them that together, public authorities, private sector, we are together to increase our relationships with Indonesia, with ASEAN, especially because you know France became development partner of ASEAN, and it is very important for us, and I thank Indonesia for that, and so, in this environment we are willing together to increase our relationships and partnership with Indonesia and Indonesian companies.

So, I can answer questions if you wish.

My name is Wella from I-NewsTV, I have several questions. On the cooperation with WIKA and the plant you visited yesterday, I just wanted to know during this global pandemic, how France and Indonesia are going to deal with the situation right now, regarding the FDI, is there any special regulation or special agreement that are going to be settled between the 2 governments, or… ?

A – Two things, we share the same views around the necessity of making the vaccine accessible by many people, all the people, all over the world. And we share a multilateral approach for that, thanks to the COVAX initiative, and we try to find all the funding for that, and the commitment of our two governments is very important in this direction, and we believe that we have to live during the crisis, to go on living, even if there are more sanitary measures, that is why I came, I came even if we have many tests to do, we cannot do all what we would have done if the COVID-19 didn’t exist, but we still have the necessity to continue to work, to meet each other, and so, in the plant, they have organized themselves with some measures to protect employees but still to produce bridges thanks to the expertise of Matière and the technology of WIKA.

So my 2nd question Sir, still regarding the FDI, what is France position towards the omnibus law which has been legalized by Indonesian parliament last October?

A – We think it is a very good law, because our companies need simplicity, visibility, transparency, safety in their investments, and this law, the way it will be implemented is very important. I had the opportunity to say to the ministers I have met, that in France we are in the same process to facilitate companies’ life, so that France becomes more attractive to FDI and if investments are more attractive it creates works, it creates wealth for everybody at the end of the day. So, I am sure that this law will be an asset for Indonesia in the future. That is what I wanted to say about the omnibus law.

Were there any discussions about the law with the minister Agus Suparmanto during your visit here about the omnibus law ?

FR – Yes, I confirmed to them that I think this is a good law, and that perhaps our companies will submit, will give some proposals for the implementation of the law, it could really be an asset for Indonesian companies, for foreign French companies, and for the people because when there is growth in a country, where business is possible, when investment is made easy, it is really useful for everyone.

As we know, a couple of weeks ago, there has been calls from some groups in Indonesia to boycott the products from France, and some to halt diplomatic relations with France, what do you think about that ?

A – I think that this campaign against France was not fair because it was not what President Macron said, what was spread on social media through radical networks. So President Macron, the minister of Europe and foreign affairs, our ambassadors in different countries, especially here in Indonesia, explained what is France’s position towards Islam, and there is no doubt that Islam is a religion like any other religion in France, so you can pray and believe as any other believers, and we have the freedom of conscience, and freedom of religions, and Muslims are citizens just like the other ones, they have the same rights, we have access to mosques for Muslims, as Catholics have access to churches. So there is no issue with Muslims in France, but we have an issue with terrorism, and we are fighting against terrorism. Other countries, like Indonesia, are fighting against terrorism. So we will continue to fight against terrorism and to defend our vision of secularism. And we see that the boycott of French products is decreasing, and it is a good thing. We hope that in the future it will be the case, because it was not fair, the criticism against France. People are free to buy what they want. We have noted the position of the Indonesian Government, not to support the boycott, it was important.

My 2nd question, is there a plan to make a business corridor between France & Indonesia aiming at making it easier to go to France and vice-versa ?

A – It is important to facilitate exchanges of businessmen or officials, but it has to be done while respecting sanitary measures, and so we are aligned on that with the government of Indonesia, and we are going to continue to work. It will be tough but in focusing on safety and sanitary norms, standards. It is very important. Because the health of everybody is very important for us.

Une question en français du petitjournal.com, vous avez eu l’occasion de rencontrer la communauté d’affaires française, quel est son bilan de la crise et comment la France peut l’aider à reprendre le dessus, et repartir ?

A – Je rencontre une partie de la communauté française tout à l’heure, les conseillers du commerce extérieur, mais j’ai déjà eu l’occasion d’échanger avec eux. On a pu voir d’abord que l’ambassade et ses services, étaient là pour les accompagner et continuent de le faire, et je les en remercie. J’ai pu rencontrer toutes les équipes de l’ambassade d’une façon physique ou digitale dans les deux jours qui viennent de s’écouler, pour les remercier, et puis deuxièmement, une façon de les aider, c’est aussi de montrer à quel point la France est engagée dans un partenariat renforcé avec l’Indonésie, en venant avec M. Corbin, avec mon équipe, même limitée du fait des contraintes, en Indonésie pour dire à quel point on voulait accroître la presence française, à quel point la France entretenait des relations de grande qualité avec le gouvernement indonésien.

One more question, I don’t know if it is going to be answered by you or the ambassador, I am interested in knowing the development in France, especially in Paris, about the global security law that has triggered huge demonstrations regarding to the article no.24. I read it has been revised, I just want to know what are the latest development on this issue ?

A – There are discussions within the parliament. For the moment, we don’t know what will be this article at the end of the day, but we want in the same way, not in the same way, we want both that policemen to be protected, because for the moment we have, for instance, some images of them that are put on social media to attack them, and their lives are in danger, we cannot accept that for the future, and in parallel, we want to protect the freedom of press because it is very important for us in France, so we, the parliament, will find the good path between security for our policemen and freedom of press./.


4. United Nations – Afghanistan – Statement by Ms Nathalie Broadhurst, Deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations at the security council (New York, 17/12/2020)

Mr. President,

First of all, I would like to thank today’s speakers for their briefings and their work in favour of peace in Afghanistan, starting of course with Deborah Lyons at the head of UNAMA, whose work I commend and thank. I would also like to pay tribute to the absolutely remarkable work and the unfailing commitment of Indonesia as Chair of the 1267 and 1988 Committees and as co-pen alongside Germany. They have done a truly remarkable job. Finally, a word for Shkula Zadran whose powerful testimony, courage and determination are a sign of hope on the long road to peace that Afghanistan is taking.

Today, I carry three messages.

First of all, I wish to emphasize the need for inter-Afghan peace negotiations to finally get off to a substantive start. The agreement on the code of conduct for these peace talks that was reached on December 2 is an encouraging first step. But I note that it took three months to reach it. And much remains to be done. In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to recall that, in line with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, the full and complete participation of women is absolutely essential if we want a lasting peace. The preservation of democratic gains is, of course, a sine qua non for peace.

Secondly, I would like to recall that the fight against terrorism must remain a priority for the international community. France condemns, in the strongest terms, the recent terrorist attacks such as the assassinations of journalists and media actors that were mentioned in the speeches. They threaten freedom of expression and the very foundations of Afghan society, and hamper peace efforts. The level of violence remains unacceptably high. The conflict in Afghanistan continues to claim the lives of too many civilians, particularly women and children. An immediate ceasefire, in accordance with resolution 2532 and the Secretary-General’s call, is essential. Finally, and this has also been mentioned, the fight against drugs in all its dimensions, from prevention to the eradication of production, is also essential to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Finally, no progress towards peace will be possible unless all parties to the conflict truthfully engage in discussions. And in this regard, the sincerity of the Taliban’s commitment remains to be demonstrated. As we are about to renew the mandate of the monitoring team attached to the 1988 Committee, I would like first of all to commend the work of the experts and recall the relevance of the 1988 sanctions committee. As decided by the Council in its resolution 2513, the revision of the sanctions list can only be considered if serious and credible pledges are given by the Taliban in terms of reducing violence, but also in terms of efforts in the service of negotiations and the renunciation of all activities that threaten the peace, stability and security of Afghanistan. Our support for peace is constant, as we demonstrated once again at the Geneva conference. The European Union’s commitment last month to provide 1.2 billion euros over four years is proof of this, to help the country through both emergency aid and long-term assistance that will support modernization and sustainable democratic development, including the fight against corruption and institution building, while helping to improve the daily lives of Afghans, particularly by reducing poverty. But this support is not blind and will not be unconditional, conditions that must be met if the democratic gains of the past twenty years are to be respected.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I would like to reiterate that peace must not be achieved at any price. The fight against impunity is absolutely essential for those who commit crimes. The protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, must be an absolute priority, and all parties must respect their obligations, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Thank you./.


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Le Drian compare la situation au Liban à la catastrophe du Titanic, «sans orchestre»

Jean-Yves Le Drian


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Sputnik . Kirill Kallinikov

En déplorant que le Liban «s’enfonce dans la crise», Jean-Yves Le Drian a dressé un parallèle entre la situation dans le pays et le naufrage du Titanic. «Il n’y a même pas de musique», a ajouté le ministre français des Affaires étrangères dans un entretien accordé au Figaro.

La crise dans laquelle le Liban reste plongé après l’explosion dévastatrice dans le port de Beyrouth au mois d’août laisse penser à la catastrophe du Titanic, a estimé, dans une interview accordée au Figaro, le ministre français des Affaires étrangères. Suite à cet accident meurtrier, le gouvernement libanais avait démissionné mais aucun nouveau n’a été formé.

Jean-Yves Le Drian a mis en avant les bénéfices de l’initiative française suite à cette crise:

«La seule solution, pour que le message soit compris, était de s’exprimer vigoureusement, en raison de notre amitié historique avec le Liban. C’est parce qu’il y a eu l’initiative de la France que toute la communauté internationale est sur la même logique que nous.»

Et de souligner:

«Personne ne veut engager des financements tant que le Liban n’aura pas fait ses réformes. Pour moi, le Liban, c’est le Titanic sans l’orchestre. Les Libanais sombrent dans le déni total de leur situation et il n’y a même pas de musique…»

Alors qu’Emmanuel Macron envisage de se déplacer à Beyrouth aux alentours du 20 décembre, au début de ce mois il s’était montré indigné par la situation au Liban. Il avait donc annoncé qu’aucune aide ne serait versée au pays tant qu’aucun gouvernement ne sera formé et que la Banque centrale n’aura pas effectué d’audit.

«Nous ne lâcherons rien […] dans nos exigences, qu’elles portent sur les réformes ou l’enquête sur les origines de l’explosion du port. Je me rendrai à nouveau au Liban en décembre pour les porter», avait alors déclaré le chef de l’État français.


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L’aile gauche du macronisme peine à décoller au sein du gouvernement

Le ministre des affaires étrangères et parrain du microparti Territoires de progrès, Jean-Yves Le Drian, à l’Assemblée nationale, le 24 novembre.

On peut vouloir dépasser les clivages « et en même temps » les recréer. Au plus fort de la polémique sur l’article 24 de la proposition de loi relative à la sécurité globale, l’Elysée se demandait : mais où est passée l’aile gauche du macronisme, celle capable de faire contrepoids à l’omniprésence du ministre de l’intérieur, Gérald Darmanin, dont l’action et les propos pèsent lourd du côté droit de la balance ? « Ce serait pas mal que le “en même temps” existe », pointait alors un conseiller du chef de l’Etat.

Article réservé à nos abonnés Lire aussi Gérald Darmanin, la tête de pont sécuritaire du gouvernement

Il a fallu qu’Emmanuel Macron lui-même lâche le terme de « violences policières » dans un entretien à Brut, dénonce les contrôles au faciès puis rappelle que le « ressentiment économique et social » participe de l’embrigadement terroriste pour que l’équilibre du pouvoir paraisse retrouvé. Mais cela lui a coûté une fronde de certains syndicats policiers, ainsi que des critiques de la présidente du Rassemblement national, Marine Le Pen, qui l’accuse de reprendre de « vieilles antiennes de la gauche » en brandissant l’argument de l’intégration comme « justification inadmissible de l’islamisme ».

Où est passée l’aile gauche, donc ? Vendredi 11 et samedi 12 décembre, elle se trouvait devant son ordinateur pour une convention par visioconférence du microparti Territoires de progrès, organisée autour du thème : « Quel paysage social après la crise sanitaire ? » Lancée en début d’année sous le parrainage du ministre des affaires étrangères, Jean-Yves Le Drian, et de son collègue chargé des comptes publics, Olivier Dussopt, tous deux ex-socialistes, cette formation vise, selon ses promoteurs, à « élargir la majorité » vers la gauche.

Article réservé à nos abonnés Lire aussi L’aile gauche de la majorité s’organise pour « faire contrepoids » à la droite

De nombreux membres du gouvernement, de Florence Parly (défense) à Emmanuelle Wargon (logement), en passant par Elisabeth Borne (travail) et Jean-Baptiste Djebbari (transports), ont rejoint cette association, qui permet la double appartenance avec La République en marche (LRM). « Territoires de progrès, ce sont les valeurs d’émancipation et de liberté d’une gauche connectée aux réalités, celles qui nous ont amenées à rejoindre Emmanuel Macron », vante la ministre déléguée à l’industrie, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, qui vient d’y adhérer. « C’est un club de ministres », raille pour sa part un député macroniste, quand un autre décrit « un village Potemkine, un décor avec des ministres de gauche qui ne pèsent sur rien ».

Il vous reste 49.83% de cet article à lire. La suite est réservée aux abonnés.


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Déplacement de Jean-Yves le Drian, ministre de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, en Côte d’Ivoire (14.12.20)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, ministre de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, se rendra en Côte d’Ivoire les 13 et 14 décembre pour représenter le Président la République à l’investiture d’Alassane Ouattara, président de la République de Côte d’Ivoire.

À cette occasion, il sera reçu en audience par le président Ouattara pour évoquer la situation en Côte d’Ivoire et les initiatives pour favoriser l’apaisement et la réconciliation.

Ils aborderont également les questions de sécurité régionale, ainsi que les grands axes de la coopération entre la France et la Côte d’Ivoire.

Le ministre aura enfin des entretiens avec d’autres chefs de délégation présents.


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Official speeches and statements – December 10, 2020

1. Qatar – Visit by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian (December 9-10, 2020) – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris – December 10, 2020)

Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, went to Qatar on 9 and 10 December. He was received in an audience by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and met his counterpart, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed al-Thani.

The visit allowed the Minister to thank the Qatari authorities for their support in the context of the health crisis, which, among other things, enabled French nationals stranded in Asia to return to France.

Against the background of the campaign of hatred and slander which has targeted France these past few weeks, the Minister continued the explanatory work he has begun in the region and underlined France’s determination to continue, with its partners, a battle which exclusively targets extremism and terrorism.

Mr. Le Drian discussed regional crises, in particular Libya. He recalled the need to end foreign interference in Libya and lend support to the implementation of the ceasefire and to the United Nations’ efforts to bring about a credible transition to a general election.

The Minister expressed France’s support for the efforts being made to achieve a lasting resolution to the crisis under way between Qatar and several Middle Eastern countries, which is essential for regional stability.

Finally, the Minister signaled his desire to step up bilateral coordination between France and Qatar in every field, particularly with a view to preparations and security for the 2022 football World Cup, organized by Qatar.


2. Human Rights – UN – Human Rights Day – statement issued by the Spokesperson for the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris – December 10, 2020)

On this anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, France pays tribute to all those who fight for human rights on a daily basis, often risking their freedom and their lives to do so. Today, 15 especially brave activists will be awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

In January 2021, France will rejoin the UN Human Rights Council. In keeping with its commitments, France will champion three priorities: promoting the rights of women and girls, including the rights to sexual and reproductive health; protecting human rights defenders; and protecting the freedom of information and freedom of the press.

Working with civil society, France will continue to strive for the universal abolition of the death penalty, the fight against all forms of discrimination, and the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of atrocities. It will once again work with Argentina on making the Convention on Enforced Disappearances universal.

Along with its EU partners, with whom it shares a deep commitment, France applauds the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s adoption, on December 7, of a new mechanism making it possible to sanction the perpetrators of human rights violations worldwide. France actively contributed to this effort.


3. European Union – COVID-19 – Brexit – Interview given by Mr. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to RMC/BFM TV (excerpts) (Paris, 08/12/2020)

COVID-19

The British are now starting to vaccinate, it’s under way there today; and we’re still waiting for the European Union’s green light. First of all, the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, then we’ll need the go-ahead from the European Commission and then the go-ahead from the French National Authority for Health. Does Europe ultimately act as a brake?

THE MINISTER – No, I want to reiterate a few truths, really. First of all, we’ll see how things go in the United Kingdom. And secondly, let me remind you that you don’t base a strategy on a single vaccine. The Prime Minister and the Health Minister presented it last week: in order to gradually vaccinate as many people as possible and the entire population – at any rate, a large sector – there will doubtless be six vaccines, six laboratories producing those vaccines. So it’s not just a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it’s spread out over several months. So we mustn’t judge things on the basis of a single day, if I can put it that way, rather as if…

Yes, but ultimately, sorry: during that time, they’re still starting today. And we’ve been told so often that the vaccine is the solution, so why are we waiting, whereas they’re ready and getting under way?

Well, first of all this has absolutely no connection with any European brake or with Brexit, as may have been said via the official channels in London.

It has nothing to do with it?

No connection.

It’s not because they’re outside the European Union that they can begin straight away? Then why aren’t we doing that?

No, I’m going to tell you why: because there’s a legal framework which is the same until December 31, they’re still legally bound by European rules until 31 December, the same legal framework in France, in the UK, in Germany etc. We’ve made a choice in France and in all the other European Union countries – except the UK, that is – to follow a European procedure. Why? Because it enables us to have certain access to all the vaccines, and that’s very important. And it enables us to have a procedure that is swift – I’ll come back to that – but also perfectly safe. We’re taking a few more days…

Does that mean that it’s a bit less safe for the British?

They’ve chosen – we could have done so – a so-called accelerated procedure, an emergency procedure that doesn’t provide exactly the same safeguards. I’m not health minister, but we know it’s a shorter procedure which therefore has a few downsides, because it doesn’t have exactly the same safeguards. And there’s been a debate in the UK. So I think they wanted to show they were capable of moving quickly on a vaccine, and they’re starting this week. We’ll see if it’s ready, we’ll see if people have confidence…

You seem slightly doubtful, all the same…

I am slightly doubtful. I was watching your reports this morning, too; a number of people have been slightly taken by surprise and don’t know if it’s properly organized, they don’t necessarily have confidence yet. And we know in our societies, in our countries, in France in particular, you have to create confidence in the vaccine. So I believe combining effectiveness and speed, on the one hand, and absolute safety on the other, is important, and that’s the decision we’ve made. And to be clear to the people listening to us, the European Union will give, the European [Medicines] Agency will give its opinion on the very first vaccines in a few days’ time. So we’re really looking at a gap of a few days…

Before Christmas? They’ve pledged to provide the response before 29 December. Could it be even earlier?

Maybe a bit earlier, but in any case there’s this deadline of 29 December for an initial vaccine, which is also the one being started in the UK. So you see we’re looking at gaps of a few days, and when you put all the vaccines end to end, the organizing we must do, the confidence we must create, I think we were right to take the extra time.

BREXIT

I understand you: you’re saying the European Union guarantees us more safety and we do things better. But ultimately it’s true that on the British side it’s almost propaganda, it’s tangible, the idea of being able to say: today we’re the first, we’re going ahead, we’re vaccinating. They’re also batting for their own team, in other words they’re saying: well look, Brexit has also enabled us to be the first. On the Brexit front, we can nevertheless say, overall, it’s a disaster, at any rate from the point of view of the European Union, which doesn’t believe there will be an agreement – you’ll confirm that to us this morning. But in any case, on London’s side they were saying yesterday evening: there’s every chance of the post-Brexit negotiations failing.

Yes, even though they themselves – well, there again, as you’ve said, I don’t know if propaganda is the right word, but there are tactics, there’s PR, a bit about the vaccine undoubtedly and probably also about messages surrounding the negotiations. The truth of the matter is that negotiations are still under way. (…)

In practical terms it’s complicated, and we ourselves don’t want to give in to any kind of pressure the British might exert on us, because there are at least two very concrete priorities for the French, for the Europeans and for our businesses: fisheries – there are more than 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in a few French regions, particularly Hauts-de-France, Normandy and Brittany. That’s major, it keeps those regions alive; there’s no reason why we should surrender it all because it’s important for the British and then say to them: listen, never mind, you block our access to your waters and we’ll do things differently. That’s not acceptable. So making efforts, yes, compromises, yes, everyone knows that; we’ve been honest about it to French fishermen. But sacrificing our fishing and our fishermen? It’s a no. And the British know that.

So there’s fishing and there’s…

There’s fishing and there’s what are rather clumsily called fair competition conditions. In practice, this means we want – if the British have access to our market, which is what they’re demanding: to continue to be able to export to us, and we to them…

Then it’s a win-win, after all…

It’s a win-win, true, but when you export to a market like that of the Europeans, which is eight times bigger than the British market, you have to comply with some rules. I can’t tell French consumers; “we haven’t checked that the British comply with our health rules, our environmental rules, [for] chemical products, pesticides and other things”. We can’t do that, otherwise it’s unfair, and it doesn’t reassure consumers either…

But aren’t you fed up with last-chance meetings?

Yes, I admit we are fed up, but we’re not going to say we’re slamming the door because we’re tired, especially because it’s Michel Barnier who is negotiating for us…

But if you yourself… Because you’ve said, particularly about the fishermen: if I feel French fishermen are truly under threat, I won’t hesitate to use my veto. But what use is your veto to them, I mean the British? What will it change?

Well, it’ll change – to be specific, I was asked whether we’ll look at the agreement when it’s on the table: obviously, and we’ll analyze whether or not it properly defends our interests, particularly the fishermen’s. If we think the agreement is less good than not having any agreement, then we won’t hesitate to do that – like all the countries, incidentally, which will make that assessment.

So anyway, when they – the British – say the negotiations overall are going to fail, are you saying: no, they’re not yet completely done for?

No, I’m not going to formally acknowledge failure. I think we still have time for negotiations, a few days, and then we have to say clearly – because it’s also important for businesses, for our fishermen – “yes or no, deal or no deal”. (…)


4. United Nations – The situation in Darfur (Sudan) – ICC referral pursuant to resolution 1593 – Joint stakeout by Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico and Norway (New York – December 10, 2020)

I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the ten Members of the Security Council that are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom) as well as three incoming Members of the Security Council that are also States Parties to the Rome Statute (Ireland, Mexico and Norway):

We, States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), would like to use the opportunity of today’s briefing of the ICC Prosecutor to the United Nations Security Council on the situation in Darfur to welcome the official visit in October by a delegation of the ICC Prosecutor to Khartoum. The engagement of the Sudanese officials with the ICC Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, for the first time in Sudan to discuss the Court’s investigations into the most serious crimes of international concern is an important step in ensuring justice is delivered for the people of Darfur and we commend the Government of Sudan for delivering this progress.

In addition, we welcome the Government of Sudan, the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and the Sudanese Liberation Army – Minni Minawi commitments to full and unlimited cooperation with the ICC in accordance with Security Council resolution 1593, and as set out in the Juba Peace Agreement signed on October 3, 2020. We wish to encourage the Sudanese authorities to build on this important development and continue their commendable efforts in support of justice for victims with further steps to implement such cooperation. In that regard, continuing to facilitate safe and secure access, swiftly, to Sudanese territory by ICC staff is particularly important to conduct the Court’s investigations, especially in connection with the case of Mr. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman following his surrender to The Hague in June this year

We would also like to use the opportunity of today’s briefing to reconfirm our unwavering support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution.

Following the statements of the President of the Assembly of States Parties, issued on June 11 and September 2, 2020, we reiterate our commitment to uphold and defend the principles and values enshrined in the Rome Statute and to preserve its integrity and independence undeterred by any measures or threats against the Court, its officials and those cooperating with it. We note that sanctions are a tool to be used against those responsible for the most serious crimes, not against those seeking justice. Any attempt to undermine the independence of the Court should not be tolerated.

The ICC embodies our collective commitment to fight impunity for the most serious crimes under international law. By giving our full support to the Court and promoting its universal membership, we defend the progress we have made together towards an international rules-based order, of which international justice is an indispensable pillar.


5. United Nations – Youth, peace and security – Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations – Security Council meeting in Arria Formula (New York – December 9, 2020)

I would first like to thank South Africa for organizing this meeting and all the speakers that are participating to this session as well. I would like to seize this opportunity to pay tribute to all young activists and human rights defenders around the world.

As we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the adoption of landmark resolution 2250, we must take stock of the progress made and of the long road ahead of us. We must remain mobilized to guarantee a central place for youth and to fully grasp their immense potential for establishing and maintaining international peace and security, and building just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

In this regard, the unanimous adoption of resolution 2535 last July on youth, peace and security, facilitated by the Dominican Republic and France, was an important step. It highlighted the Security Council’s strong support to the effective and meaningful participation of youth in peace and security.

France calls for the collective, integrated and coordinated implementation of resolution 2535, along with previous resolutions on Youth, Peace and Security. That is the utmost responsibility of the members of the Security Council, but also of the United Nations as a whole.

I would like to underline today the importance of respecting the fundamental rights of youth to enable them to fully express their potential. In this regards, Resolution 2535 marked a significant step forward by strengthening the human rights protection framework as well as the protection of the civic and political space. Young people continue to be stigmatized and seen as troublemakers or ground for violent extremism in certain contexts. These stereotypes are too often used as pretexts to ignore their demands and to violate their rights.

France will continue to call for the respect of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly everywhere and for everyone, in particular by supporting young human rights defenders.

I can also assure you that France will continue to be engaged in ensuring that young people, including young women, are associated in our work at the United Nations. Young people today have shown us that they are ready to be part of the discussion on major global issues – we see it every day in their mobilization against climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. We must now fully support their involvement in the discussions and decisions making processes.

France also commends the work of the Office of the African Union Youth Envoy, in particular the organization of the fellowship on silencing the gun last month to equip young women with a comprehensive training on peace and security.

Finally, France will also put youth at the heart of the Equality Generation Forum organized jointly with Mexico and UN Women, which will take place in 2021. We believe youth participation will be fundamental. This will allow them to participate meaningfully in the discussions: their voices will be heard.

You can count on France’s support and determination.

I thank you very much Mr. President.


6. United Nations – Central Africa/UNOCA – Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, permanent representative of France to the United Nations to the Security Council (New York – December 9, 2020)

[translation from French]

Mr. President,

I thank Special Representative, Mr. François Louncény Fall, for his remarks. Your action, Mr. Special Representative, fully demonstrates the added value of a regional approach to understanding the dynamics of Central Africa and to strengthen the preventive approach of the United Nations in the region.

I would like to briefly address three points:

First of all, on progress in terms of regional cooperation.

I welcome the implementation of the institutional reform of the Economic Community of Central African States, which came into force last August. The establishment of the new Commission reflects the deepened cooperation within the region. It complements the numerous recent cooperation initiatives in Central Africa in the area of security or cross-border cooperation. This dynamic must be sustained in favor of peace and development.

Secondly, the fragilities of the region to which we must pay attention.

Several political, security, humanitarian and human rights challenges remain. I think in particular of the persistence of terrorist actions carried out by Boko Haram in Cameroon and Chad, which continue to claim many military and civilian victims. Despite some improvements, we must also remain vigilant against the activities of armed groups in the DRC and CAR, and maintain our commitment against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

On the humanitarian aspects, needs remain high and food insecurity is worsening. It is essential that international humanitarian law and human rights are fully respected. The indispensable fight against the COVID-19 pandemic does not justify their violation. We condemn attacks against humanitarian and medical staff. These acts must not go unpunished. The support of international partners is key to help the countries of Central Africa overcome the humanitarian and health crisis. France has pledged 1.2 billion euros to support Africa in the fight against COVID-19. It has launched an initiative within the framework of the G20 and the Paris Club for a moratorium on debt servicing for countries affected by the pandemic. In Central Africa, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Angola, the DRC and Cameroon are benefiting from this measure.

Third, and finally, the importance of inclusive electoral processes.

With elections approaching in several countries in the region, first in the Central African Republic where elections will be held before the end of the month, but also in Chad and the Republic of Congo, it is essential that these elections take place in the best possible conditions and in a context that allows all stakeholders to take part. The full participation of women as voters and candidates is indispensable, as is that of youth, displaced persons and refugees.

Mr. President,

United Nations regional offices such as UNOCA are essential to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations action, particularly in conflict prevention. This is why France will continue to support them in a spirit of strengthened partnership with African regional and subregional organizations.

Thank you.


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Author: ADMIN-WDC