Ukraine – New Russian airstrikes (Apr. 28, 2023)
France condemns last night’s Russian air strikes against the Ukrainian regions of Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv in the strongest possible terms.
These strikes once again deliberately targeted residential buildings and killed civilians, including children – especially in Uman where initial reports point to a particularly heavy death toll. This targeting of civilian infrastructures and populations underscores Russia’s clear desire to continue escalating its war of aggression in Ukraine.
As Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna has stressed repeatedly, these unacceptable actions are war crimes and cannot go unpunished. France will continue to provide support to Ukrainian courts and to the International Criminal Court to combat impunity for such crimes. It will also continue its military and civilian support in order to bolster Ukrainian resilience for as long as necessary.
UN / Afghanistan – Security Council resolution condemning the Taliban’s decision to prohibit Afghan women from working for the UN in Afghanistan (Apr. 28, 2023)
France welcomes the unanimous adoption, on April 27, of Security Council resolution 2681, which condemns the Taliban’s decision to prohibit Afghan women from working for the UN in Afghanistan.
Sponsored by more than 90 countries, including France, this resolution calls on the Taliban to immediately revoke restrictions on women and girls, who are deprived of their fundamental rights and liberties. It also calls for granting full humanitarian access to the personnel of UN humanitarian organizations and their partners, as well as the full participation of women and girls in Afghan society.
France condemns all of the Taliban’s attacks on women’s rights in Afghanistan in the strongest possible terms.
France will remain committed to ensuring the respect of women’s rights in Afghanistan and reaffirms its absolute solidarity with the Afghan people.
Belarus – Hospitalization of opposition leader Viktor Babariko (Apr. 27, 2023)
France was concerned to learn of the hospitalization of opposition leader Viktor Babariko. A former candidate in the 2020 presidential election, he was arrested in June of that same year and sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Lukashenko regime. Reports that Viktor Babariko was subjected to mistreatment while in detention are especially troubling.
France condemns in the strongest possible terms the acts of violence – some of which constitute forms of torture – inflicted upon political prisoners in Belarus. It denounces the increasingly serious human rights violations in that country in defiance of the Belarusian government’s international commitments. Alexander Lukashenko and the Belarusian authorities’ harsh treatment of democratic opposition forces and all those who criticize the government is unacceptable.
In this context, France expresses its support for Viktor Babariko and his loved ones. It calls on the Belarusian authorities to respect Viktor Babariko’s right to receive visits from his attorneys and his families as well as access to appropriate medical care. Furthermore, France reiterates that the perpetrators of such abuses must not go unpunished and must be held accountable for their actions in a court of law.
Lastly, France renews its call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners detained in Belarus.
Grain exports to non-EU countries – Confirmation from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES)
Over the last few weeks, the French government and many businesses that export French grain have expressed concern about the decision made by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) last October to change the conditions for the use of products that protect stored grain. These new conditions ran the risk of cutting off exports to certain countries beginning on April 25.
On April 21, ANSES confirmed that it would be possible to export grain to non-EU countries that require that grain be treated by phosphine. In doing so, ANSES adapted its marketing authorization for these products on the basis of an EU regulation designed for such cases.
The authorization specifies that the product may be applied in direct contact with grain that will be exported to non-EU countries that either require or accept this treatment. This decision guarantees export continuity and makes it possible to meet demand from countries for which these products are essential to food security.
The Minister invited her Azerbaijani counterpart, Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, to continue talks in Paris. Is a France-led summit on the dangers facing Nagorno-Karabakh in the offing?
Can France count on the support of another European country to get the Azerbaijani government to move forward?
Does France share the views expressed by Ms. von der Leyen in Baku a few months ago, in which she referred to Azerbaijan as a “reliable” strategic partner ?
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna is currently visiting Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. I refer you to her statements.
With regard to Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye’s statements last week, are there plans to summon him or sanction him in any other way?
We refer you to the spokesperson’s statement of April 24 on this subject.