Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 1, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 1, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 1, 2023]

Saudi Arabia / United Arab Emirates – Visit by Catherine Colonna (Feb. 2-3, 2023)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will be visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates from February 1 to 3.

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, the minister will assure her Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, and her Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed, of France’s determination to stand with its partners and to maintain its commitment to regional security and stability. Ms. Colonna will prioritize strengthening regional cooperation in the wake of the two so-called Baghdad Conferences, the second of which was held on December 20 in Amman, Jordan. She and her counterparts will discuss the most pressing regional and international issues: Iran, the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Yemen and the consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

In Saudi Arabia, Ms. Colonna will emphasize that France wishes to provide support for the implementation of Vision 2030, the plan to reform and modernize the country, particularly in the economic, energy-related and cultural spheres. She will finalize an agreement on energy cooperation with Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud. With Culture Minister Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud, she will discuss expanding our cultural partnership and will review the AlUla project.

In the United Arab Emirates, Ms. Colonna will visit the French military base to commend our forces in the Emirates on their daily contribution to regional security and stability. She will visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is emblematic of the excellent cultural cooperation between our two countries, and she will inaugurate the Lycée Français International Théodore Monod. The Minister will reaffirm our willingness to work together on preparations for the COP28 Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Dubai at the end of this year.

In Riyadh, the Minister will meet with the new Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with which we maintain a strategic partnership and share the goals of regional security, stability and prosperity.

Italy – Visit by Laurence Boone (Feb. 2-3, 2023)

Laurence Boone, Minister of State for Europe, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will be in Rome from February 2 to 3.

The Minister of State will meet with her Italian counterpart, Minister for European Affairs Raffaele Fitto, to discuss the Global South, cohesion policy and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. They will also talk about the EU’s response to the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as migration-related issues, in preparation for the extraordinary meeting of the European Council, which will be held from February 9 to 10. The Minister of State will also reaffirm our commitment to strengthening Europe’s energy independence and lowering energy prices for individual and business consumers.

Laurence Boone will take part in the opening session of the 5th edition of the Aspen Italy/France Forum, which will focus on the challenges shared by France and Italy following the conclusion of the Quirinal Treaty. She will give a talk on “Italy, France and the Future of Europe.” Ms. Boone will meet with the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Giancarlo Giorgetti, on the sidelines of the forum.

At the Senate, she will have a meeting on the most important European issues with the Chairman of the Senate European Affairs Committee, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, and the Chairwoman of the European Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Marianna Madia, as well as members of these two committees.

In light of the creation of the Franco-Italian Chair at the Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (Luiss), she will speak about European sovereignty and hold a conversation with students studying law and government at the university.

Lastly, she will visit the Casa Internazionale delle Donne to talk with nonprofits that work on women’s rights and health.

Burma/Myanmar – The political situation (Feb. 1, 2023)

Two years after the February 1, 2021, coup d’état, in which the Burmese military overthrew the government that the Burmese people had freely chosen for themselves in the November 8, 2020, general elections, France condemns in the strongest possible terms the Burmese military’s strategy of imposing terror on the people of Burma. The silent strike taking place today throughout Burma is a vibrant illustration of Burmese citizens’ commitment to democracy and their steadfast opposition to the coup d’état. None of the junta’s attempts to gain legitimacy by using the justice system against the democratically elected leaders will succeed and we strongly condemn the systematic dismantling of the rule of law in Burma that has taken place since the coup d’état.

The EU has adopted five rounds of sanctions targeting 70 individuals and 11 entities, and is prepared to adopt further sanctions.

At the same time, in order to meet the people’s growing needs, France has expanded its humanitarian aid by doubling its programmed food assistance in 2022 and increasing its financial support to French NGOs working in Burma by 50%. France is also the third largest bilateral contributor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ efforts in Burma and will maintain this support in 2023.

France reiterates its commitment to seeing the establishment of a political dialogue that includes the democratic opposition, including the National League for Democracy and its historic leaders, as well as the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH). This is a crucial prerequisite for any resolution to the crisis. As was demanded by the UN Security Council in its resolution 2669, France reiterates its call for the immediate, unconditional release of all those who are being arbitrarily detained, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, as well as its call for an end to the violence committed by Myanmar’s security forces. France reaffirms its support for the efforts of ASEAN and its Special Envoy, as well as those of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

France will continue to stand firmly united with the Burmese people in their fight for justice and democracy.

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