Paris, April 16, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 16th April 2012)
Discussion between the Ministre d’Etat and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Kim Sung-hwan
The Ministre d’Etat spoke on the telephone this morning with his South Korean counterpart, Mr. Kim Sung-hwan.
Mr. Alain Juppé reaffirmed France’s condemnation of the rocket launch carried out by North Korea last weekend, in violation of international law and North Korea’s international obligations. This is a provocative act that is likely to increase tensions in the region, while, on the contrary, Pyongyang is expected to cooperate with the international community.
The Ministre d’Etat assured his South Korean counterpart of France’s active support aimed at encouraging the UN Security Council to voice the international community’s concerns and its condemnation, and reaffirm its demands with respect to North Korea.
Meeting of the international working group on sanctions against the Syrian regime (Paris, April 17, 2012)
As the Ministre d’Etat announced on April 1 at the Istanbul conference, the first meeting of the international working group on sanctions against the Syrian regime will take place in Paris on April 17 in the afternoon.
All States belonging to the Group of Friends of Syria that pledged to apply sanctions against the Syrian regime are invited to this meeting. Around 50 countries should be represented.
It will be co-chaired by France, Morocco, and the European External Action Service (EEAS). The Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Alain Juppé, will open the working group session.
The sanctions adopted against the Syrian regime are an effective instrument and require the broadest possible mobilization of the international community. Several sanctions regimes are currently in force, notably those of the European Union, the Arab League and the United States. The goal of this first meeting will therefore be to examine ways to implement these sanctions regimes in the most effective way possible and to work toward ensuring their coordination and universalization.
While the regime has continued to actively crackdown on the opposition, including through bomb attacks this weekend, we must continue to exert strong pressure on the Syrian regime in order to ensure that it complies with its obligations in accordance with Annan’s plan and puts an end to the crackdown so that a democratic transition can get under way.
France condemns the coup d’etat carried out by Guinea Bissau’s armed forces and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order.
France demands that the physical integrity of those being detained by the armed forces, in particular the interim President of the Republic, Mr. Carlos Gomes Junior, be respected and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
France fully supports the initiatives of ECOWAS to ensure that stability is restored in Guinea-Bissau as swiftly as possible.
During the course of the day, the Ministre d’Etat will discuss the situation in Guinea Bissau with the President of Benin, Mr. Thomas Boni Yayi, who is also President of the African Union.
Ukraine – Mission of the Human Rights Ambassador, Mr. François Zimeray (April 18 to 19, 2012)
Human Rights Ambassador, Mr. François Zimeray, will travel to Ukraine from April 18 to 19, 2012.
During this mission, he will meet the Ombudsman responsible for fundamental rights and attend the first hearing of Ms. Tymoshenko’s trial in Kharkiv. The ambassador has asked to meet with Ms. Tymoshenko.
France again urges the Ukrainian government to ensure full respect for human rights and its international obligations, notably those made to the Council of Europe, as well as the commitments that it renewed at the EU-Ukraine Summit in December 2011.
Afghanistan – Attacks on April 15, 2012
Yesterday, the Afghan security forces effectively pushed back the Taliban offensives in Kabul and eastern Afghanistan.
France commends this successful response which reflects the increasing capacity of these forces to assume responsibility for security in Afghanistan, in accordance with the transition process currently under way.
It condemns the attacks perpetrated by the Taliban and extends its condolences to the families of the civilian victims and the members of the Afghan forces who died in these attacks.
France wants to assure the Afghan authorities of its wholehearted solidarity and its determination to remain engaged alongside them in the fight against the scourge of terrorism and in order to work toward ensuring Afghanistan’s stabilization.
Our embassy’s security measures which were implemented yesterday worked well thanks to the vigilance of our ambassador and his team who maintained close and constant contact with the French community present in the area. This demonstrates the importance of remaining actively vigilant with respect to all security issues.
France welcomes the release of Andrei Sannikov, a former Belarusian presidential candidate, and Dmitry Bondarenko, coordinator of the “European Belarus” civil initiative.
This gesture constitutes a step in the right direction which we hope will be the first step toward the swift release of all political prisoners, as the EU has been demanding since January 2011, in order to allow the resumption of dialogue between the EU and Belarus to take place on a constructive basis.
Sudan/ South Sudan – Bombing of UNMISS camp
France was shocked to learn of the bombing by the Sudanese army which affected a camp of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan. It condemns this unacceptable act against a peacekeeping operation and reaffirms its solidarity with the UN forces.
France urges Sudan to immediately cease its military operations in South Sudanese territory and urges the South Sudanese authorities to withdraw from Heglig. It also condemns the South Sudanese military incursion into Sudanese territory and the capture of the town of Heglig. These acts jeopardize regional stability and could lead the two States into a dangerous and widespread confrontation.
The border dispute between the two States cannot be resolved through military operations but through a political negotiation based on respect for each State’s territorial integrity and their international commitments. France lends its full support to all of the international and African organizations involved in resolving the disputes between Sudan and South Sudan. It urges Khartoum and Juba to actively cooperate with them in order to peacefully resolve their disputes.
The implementation of the agreements of June 29 and July 31, 2011, on the establishment of a demilitarized and internationally monitored border area, as well as the cooperation and non-aggression agreement of February 10, 2012, must be urgently pursued in order to achieve a political settlement of the current tensions.