Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development Spokesperson (Paris - May 25, 2016)
• Germany – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and the participants of the "Helmut Schmidt Program" (Paris - May 25, 2016)
• Human Rights – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (May 25, 2016)
• Sport – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and Bernard Lapasset, Co-Chairman of the Paris 2024 Bid Committee (Paris - May 25, 2016)
• Slovakia – Meeting between Jean-Marc Ayrault and his counterpart, Miroslav Lajcak (Paris - May 25, 2016)
• Economic and sports diplomacy – Jean-Marc Ayrault’s participation in the "International Meetings for Major Sports Events" (May 26, 2016)
• Czech Republic – Visit by Harlem Désir to Prague (May 26, 2016)
• Economic diplomacy – Hong Kong visit by Matthias Fekl (May 24-25, 2016)
• Comoros – Inauguration of President Assoumani Azali (May 25-26, 2016)
• Egypt – Expulsion of a French journalist
• Iraq – Liberation of the town of al-Rutbah (May 19, 2016)
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, received Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura this morning. The minister reaffirmed his support for the mediation conducted by Staffan de Mistura.
He expressed to him our deep concern at the repeated violations of the cessation of hostilities and the regime’s systematic blocking of humanitarian access, contrary to the commitments undertaken and the requests repeated once again on May 17 in Vienna by the International Syria Support Group.
Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed the need to implement a transitional government by August 1, in accordance with UNSCR 2254. Conditions on the ground must allow the swift resumption of negotiations between the regime and the opposition, especially with respect to the arrangements for the political transition.
On May 25, 2016, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, received around 15 high-level diplomats from the G20 countries as part of the "Helmut Schmidt Program on Global Issues," organized by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in memory of the former chancellor.
He presented France’s priorities for diplomatic action, notably with respect to the global challenges posed by climate disruption and the fight against terrorism. The discussions also focused on the need for global governance that is better equipped to address these challenges.
This meeting falls within the framework of cooperation between the French and German Ministries of Foreign Affairs with respect to the training of diplomats.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will meet with Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, on Wednesday, May 25.
They will discuss the human rights situation in the countries most affected by the crises.
France, which is determined to take action to combat impunity and to promote human rights, would like to pay tribute to the work of Human Rights Watch all over the world. The work carried out by NGOs is vital in publicly denouncing the violations of these rights and helping to put an end to them.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive Bernard Lapasset, Co-Chairman of the Paris 2024 Bid Committee, today.
Mr. Ayrault will reaffirm the commitment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development to support the Paris bid. They will discuss the initiatives taken by the ministry to support the Paris bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024, in France as well as within the diplomatic and consular network, notably through the establishment of sports correspondents within the embassies.
They will discuss preparations for upcoming major international sports events such as Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games in Rio.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will receive his Slovakian counterpart, Miroslav Lajcak, on May 25 for a working dinner.
Mr. Ayrault and Mr. Lajcak will discuss preparations for the Slovakian presidency of the EU, which is due to begin on July 1, 2016.
They will also take stock of major current European and international issues as well as the development of bilateral relations within the framework of the French-Slovak strategic partnership.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, will take part in the 4th "International Meetings for Major Sports Events" on May 26, 2016, at Business France’s premises. The meetings will notably provide an opportunity for French firms to promote their expertise to the foreign delegations.
In his opening speech he will reaffirm our country’s ability to organize and host major international sports events, and our recognized expertise in this area. The holding in France of Euro 2016, the Handball Championship in 2017, the Ryder Cup in 2018, as well as major competitions such as the Roland Garros tournament and the Tour de France every year are evidence of this.
Mr. Ayrault will also encourage the firms, regardless of their size, to offer their services for international sports events and to seize the export opportunities in this very competitive market.
Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs, will visit Prague on May 26, 2016.
He will meet with Lubomir Zaoralek, Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as with his counterpart responsible for European affairs, Tomas Prouza.
They will discuss the development of bilateral relations, notably on the economic front, in preparation for Mr. Zaoralek’s visit to Paris on June 1, 2016. Mr. Désir will also discuss major current European and international issues with his interlocutors, whose country chairs the Visegrad Group, which brings together Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Matthias Fekl, minister of state for foreign trade, the promotion of tourism, and French nationals abroad, is attending the Vinexpo trade show in Hong Kong. This is the largest event for international wine-and-spirits professionals, and features 546 French exhibitors. In 2015, our wine exports to Hong Kong amounted to more than 1.26 billion euros.
Mr. Fekl’s schedule includes a meeting with Finance Secretary John Tsang, a tour of a Véolia plant, a meeting to promote France’s attractiveness to investors, and an event with the local French community.
Bilateral trade between France and Hong Kong rose by 6.8% in 2015 compared with 2014, reaching 5.4 billion euros. Our exports to Hong Kong nearly doubled between 2009 and 2015, totaling 4.5 billion euros. For the past six years, our trade surplus with Hong Kong has been the second-largest in the world.
On May 26, André Vallini, minister of state for development and Francophonie and head of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Commission, will represent France in Moroni at the inauguration of the president-elect of the Union of the Comoros, Assoumani Azali, with whom he will also have a meeting.
Mr. Vallini will convey our wish to the Comorian authorities to deepen our friendship and expand cooperation. He will communicate our desire to continue—together with our European partners—supporting development in the Comoros.
We have learned of the expulsion of Rémy Pigaglio, a correspondent for La Croix and RTL in Egypt, who had been detained at the Cairo airport since May 23.
France deeply regrets the Egyptian authorities’ decision. Throughout the world, it champions the freedom of expression and freedom of the press. President Hollande reaffirmed this publicly during his state visit to Egypt on April 17-18.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault raised the situation of this journalist on May 24 with Sameh Choukri, his Egyptian counterpart. Our ambassador in Cairo and his staff were in contact with Rémy Pigaglio and his family. They have approached the Egyptian authorities at every level to ask them to reconsider their decision.
After Ramadi and Hit, France welcomes the liberation of the town of al-Rutbah on May 19 by Iraqi armed forces, and the Iraqi authorities’ announcement of the upcoming reopening of the border crossing with Jordan.
This is an important step forward in the fight against Daesh which—thanks to the resolute efforts of the international coalition—is retreating in both Iraq and Syria. France also applauds the launch of operations to recapture Fallujah.
France, which belongs to the international coalition against Daesh in Operation Chammal, launched in September 2014, will continue to support Iraq in the fight against terrorism.