Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 6, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 6, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Feb. 6, 2023]

Niger – Visit by Chrysoula Zacharopoulou and European colleagues (Feb. 6-8, 2023)

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will be in Niger from February 6 to 8 with her Greek and Portuguese counterparts, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantinos Fragkogiannis and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Francisco André.

This European visit builds on the commitments taken by the EU and its member states at the EU-African Union summit in February 2022 to consolidate the new partnership between Europe and Africa.

In that spirit, Ms. Zacharopoulou and her counterparts will meet with several members of Niger’s government, including Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou, Defense Minister Alkassoum Indatou, Interior Minister Hamadou Adamou Souley, Finance Minister Dr. Ahmat Jidoud, Trade Minister Alkache Alhada and Education Minister Prof. Ibrahim Natatou. They will review our partnership on priority areas identified by Niger authorities and will visit joint projects on the ground. In particular, they will tour a photovoltaic power station, an important project for the development of renewable energy; a water treatment facility; and a flagship boarding school that is especially committed to educating girls.

The delegation will meet with Nigerien civil society representatives and will take part in the first edition of the EU-Niger Business Forum, which will make European businesses aware of investment opportunities in Niger.

Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria – France sends emergency personnel and Crisis and Support Center staff (Feb. 6, 2022)

Following the deadly double earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria on February 6, France expresses its support for the victims of the quake, which killed several hundred people and left many injured. The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs conveyed to her Turkish counterpart France’s condolences to Turkey, to the Turkish people and to the grieving families, and sent those injured her best wishes for a speedy recovery.

As President Macron said, France is already mobilizing its efforts to provide urgent assistance to affected populations. France is sending emergency services personnel as well as staffers from the Crisis and Support Center, who should be on their way within hours, in response to the Turkish authorities’ request for international assistance. The aid provided by France corresponds to the request formulated by the Turkish authorities via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM), which enables disaster-struck countries to seek help from Europe.

Two Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) detachments from the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas France were dispatched on Monday to assist the Turkish authorities with search and rescue operations and provide assistance to affected populations. They included:

  • 71 fire and rescue personnel and 4 sniffer dogs from the Investigation and Response Unit of Nogent-le-Rotrou Emergency Services Station No. 1; and
  • 65 first responders and 6 sniffer dogs from the Ile-de-France Security and Defense Administration (Yvelines Departmental Fire and Rescue Services, Seine-et-Marne Department).

This emergency operation is being coordinated by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Crisis and Support Center, in conjunction with our embassy in Ankara.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna and Minister of the Interior and Overseas France Gérald Darmanin offer their full support to those affected by the earthquake and assure them of France’s solidarity.

UN – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (Feb. 6, 2023)

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, France calls for an immediate end to this form of sexual and sexist violence, which represents an intolerable attack on women’s and girls’ bodily integrity and a severe and unacceptable violation of their rights.

Equality between men and women, promoting the rights of women and girls, and combating sexual and gender-based violence are central to France’s feminist foreign policy.

France stands with civil society representatives and the UN in their fight against female genital mutilation and supports maternal and child health programs on the ground. Since 2019, we have supported the joint program conducted by UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA).

France and its partners are also implementing the commitments taken at the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) held in Paris during the summer of 2021. Co-chaired by Mexico and France under the auspices of UN Women, the GEF raised more than $40 billion and mobilized stakeholders worldwide through six Action Coalitions. France, which provided €400 million in financial support for women’s and girl’s health for 2021-2025, is fully abiding by all its commitments and continues to champion the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

UN / Democratic Republic of the Congo – France condemns attack on MONUSCO helicopter

France utterly condemns the attack on a helicopter belonging to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic of the Congo (MONUSCO) that took place on February 5 in North Kivu province, killing one South African peacekeeper and seriously injuring another.

We offer our condolences to the deceased soldier’s loved ones and to the South African authorities. We wish the injured peacekeeper a speedy recovery.

France commends MONUSCO’s dedication and reaffirms its full support for UN efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mali – Expulsion of the director of MINUSMA’s human rights section (Feb. 6, 2023)

France strongly condemns the Malian junta’s decision to expel Guillaume Ngefa, director of MINUSMA’s human rights section.

We commend MINUSMA’s work and dedication and its human rights section, which provided updated reports on the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law suffered by the Malian people, for which terrorist groups and Russian Wagner mercenaries are specifically responsible.

In its latest strategic review, the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General underscored the need for Mali to abide by MINUSMA’s full mandate, including respect for human rights.

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