Qatar and the UAE – Visit by Catherine Colonna (November 5, 2023)
Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna will visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on November 5 to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as the regional situation, with her Qatari counterparts, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
This visit reflects the close diplomatic cooperation that France maintains with its main partners in the Middle East. The purpose of these regional consultations is to arrive at an immediate, lasting, sustained humanitarian truce; to organize the humanitarian response to the needs of Gaza’s civilian population; to work resolutely and decisively to ensure that the conflict does not spread; and to determine how to rebuild momentum for a just and lasting resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution. The latter is a necessary prerequisite for long-term peace and stability in the Middle East, a concern France shares with its regional partners.
The minister will also discuss the situation of the hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza and will reiterate France’s demand for the immediate release of all hostages kidnapped on October 7 during Hamas’s terrorist attack against Israel.
International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Committed Against Journalists, and Anna Politkovskaya-Arman Soldin Prize (November 2, 2023)
On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Committed Against Journalists, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna presented the first Anna Politkovskaya-Arman Soldin Prize for Courage in Journalism to Mexican journalist Marcela Turati. Marcela Turati worked relentlessly to shed light on the violence of drug traffickers and the societal consequences of the war against the cartels, despite the risks that often cost Mexican journalists their lives. The jury awarded a special prize to French-Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who was recently released after being detained for 284 days by the Taliban for his work as a journalist.
Given the growing restrictions on the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, as well as the spread of misinformation and information manipulation, France pays tribute to all those who risk their lives on a daily basis to publish free, pluralistic, reliable information, which is necessary to the continuation of democracy, as well as those who lost their lives as a result of their profession.
Along with its European and international partners at the UN in New York and Geneva, at UNESCO in Paris, at the OSCE in Vienna, and at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France will continue to work resolutely to protect journalists, particularly female journalists, journalists in conflict zones and independent media professionals in authoritarian states. It will endeavor to defend the right to inform and to be informed, and the ability to express critical views, both online and offline, as these are essential to democratic debate.
Against this backdrop, France actively supports the International Partnership for Information and Democracy launched in 2019 and signed by 51 countries to date to promote national and international legal frameworks encouraging the exercise of the freedom of opinion and expression, access to reliable and independent information, and an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.