Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [May 11, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [May 11, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [May 11, 2023]

Catherine Colonna’s participation in the Gymnich meeting and the Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum (May 12-13, 2023)

On May 12 and 13, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will take part in the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers known as the “Gymnich,” and on May 13, she will attend the second edition of the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm.

At the Gymnich, the minister will emphasize the need for us to provide support for Ukraine over the long term by boosting the production capacities of European defense industries and instituting a European war economy. She will also stress the importance of prioritizing the fight against the circumvention of sanctions and strengthening our partnerships with third countries.

With regard to China, the minister will reaffirm the ongoing relevance of the March 2019 European triptych. She will underscore the need to continue rebalancing the EU-China relationship by implementing the agenda that was agreed upon at the European Council in Versailles. Lastly, she will reiterate the importance of maintaining a clear-sighted, rigorous but also constructive approach to China on global matters and international issues such as the Russian aggression against Ukraine, as President Macron did during his recent visit to that country.

On March 13, the minister will take part in the second edition of the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm.

The Stockholm Forum will bring together participants from EU institutions and member states, the European Investment Bank, some 30 Indo-Pacific nations and several regional organizations. It will follow on from the Paris Forum held on February 22, 2022, during the French presidency of the EU Council, and will follow the same procedures.

In an international context marked both by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific, it is essential for EU and Indo-Pacific countries and institutions to have a specific discussion forum where they can work together on issues of common interest in the areas of security, sustainable development and the environment, connectivity, and the resilience of value chains.

The EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum offers that space. The second edition will enable us to measure how far we have come in implementing the commitments taken at the Forum in Paris and to give the necessary political impetus to new areas of cooperation. The minister will speak at the opening of the Forum and at a round table on security issues. She will underscore the advances made in the implementation of such key EU initiatives such as the Global Gateway strategy – identifying concrete connectivity projects – and the implementation of Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) in the northwestern Indian Ocean to contribute to the security of that strategic region. She will present France’s proposals on continuing the roll-out of the European strategy in the Indo-Pacific in the most ambitious, operational manner.

OSCE – Deep concern regarding the human rights situation in Belarus (May 11, 2023)

France was deeply concerned to learn the conclusions of Professor Hervé Ascensio’s report. It highlights the growing number of restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the ways that crackdowns have grown over the past two years as the Belarusian government has sought to maintain its control over all of Belarusian society and silence any opposition to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

The report warns of the especially large number of political prisoners and the Belarusian authorities’ regular use of torture and inhumane treatment, in particular against individuals who are considered political opponents. It condemns the full legal arsenal put into place by Belarus in an effort to contain any form of opposition. Since the start of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, this arsenal has been directed in particular against individuals who express their opposition to the war or their support for the Ukrainian people, thereby establishing a clear link between the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Belarusian authorities’ increasingly repressive policies.

France is resolutely committed to promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. Once again, we urgently call on Belarus fulfil its international obligations and commitments and to immediately implement the report’s recommendations regarding the release of political prisoners on humanitarian grounds and the granting of access to medical treatment for detainees. The report’s conclusions are supported by evidence collected by the International Accountability Platform for Belarus, among other sources.

France reiterates its firm condemnation of the serious human rights violations in Belarus and Alexander Lukashenko’s regime’s collusion in Russia’s illegal and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.

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