NATO – Extension of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s term (July 4, 2023)
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna congratulated Jens Stoltenberg yesterday on the extension of his term as NATO secretary-general until October 1, 2024.
During the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Mr. Stoltenberg has demonstrated his ability to maintain unity and the Alliance’s adaptation to threats while responding effectively and responsibly to new challenges to Euro-Atlantic security.
France will maintain its commitment to working closely with the secretary-general, particularly during the Vilnius Summit on July 11 and 12, which will be an important opportunity to harness long-term support for Ukraine, continue adapting the Alliance to the new security context, and advance cooperation between NATO and the EU in a way that benefits Euro-Atlantic security.
Ukraine – France condemns the latest Russian strike (July 5, 2023)
France utterly condemns yesterday’s Russian strike on Pervomayskiy, in the Kharkiv region, which reportedly left some 40 dead, including many children.
This strike once again deliberately targeted residential buildings in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.
As Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna has repeatedly emphasized, these unacceptable acts are war crimes and cannot go unpunished. France will continue to work closely with its allies to provide military support to Ukraine to help it strengthen its air defenses, as well as support for Ukrainian courts to combat impunity for such crimes.
In an official statement dated July 4, you indicated that “Israel’s security requirements cannot exempt it from complying with its international obligations under humanitarian law, including the necessity of protecting civilians in the Occupied Territories and using force proportionately.”
What objective fact is this warning based on? Are you aware of a failure by the Israeli army to “comply with international obligations under humanitarian law” in the difficult battle it is waging in Jenin against heavily armed jihadist militias? Are you aware of a “disproportionate use of force” in these operations, whose sole aim is to dismantle those armed groups before they commit terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians?
Israel has the right to defend itself, and France is staunchly committed to its security. However, exercising this right comes with very clear obligations, given Israel’s status as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention: Israel must protect Palestinian civilians, use force proportionately and fully abide by international humanitarian law, which applies in the Palestinian Territories.