Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Dec. 8, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Dec. 8, 2023]

Statements made by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson [Dec. 8, 2023]

Southern Africa – Visit by Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Dec. 11-18, 2023)

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will be in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia from December 11 through 18.

The Minister of State will begin her visit in Mozambique, from December 11 through 13. She will meet with officials there to bolster a high-quality bilateral partnership characterized by strong cooperation in the Indian Ocean and vibrant cultural and economic exchanges. She will also express France’s solidarity and commitment with regard to the current security and humanitarian crisis in Mozambique.

Ms. Zacharopoulou will then visit Malawi, from December 14 through 16, where she will stress our commitment to that country more than 20 years after the last visit by a member of French government. Her meetings with government officials will focus on joint projects in the cultural, economic, health and agricultural spheres.

One year after her last visit to the country, the Minister will wrap up her trip in Zambia, on December 17 and 18, where she will meet with Zambian authorities. Their discussions will further deepen our bilateral partnership on the energy transition, the sustainable management of natural resources and public health.

Ahead of the 19th Francophonie Summit, to be held in Paris and Villers-Cotterêts on October 4-5 of next year, the Minister will take advantage of each stage of her Southern African visit to promote France’s ambitions for the summit, which will focus on creating, innovating and entrepreneurship in French.

Ukraine – France condemns Russian missile strikes in Ukraine (Dec. 8, 2023)

France utterly condemns the latest Russian missile strikes in Ukraine, which left at least one dead and several injured in the Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv areas.

By subjecting the entire country of Ukraine to missile and drone strikes on an almost daily basis and stepping up the strikes as winter begins to set in, Russia is continuing its strategy of terror to weaken the resilience of the Ukrainian people.

As Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna has repeatedly emphasized, France will continue to work closely with its partners to shore up Ukraine’s resilience and to provide it with the aid it needs to ensure its legitimate defense. Russia cannot count on our fatigue. France will also continue its support for the Ukrainian courts and the International Criminal Court to combat impunity for crimes committed by Russia. And France will continue its food aid to the countries most vulnerable to food insecurity as a result of the Russian aggression.

Armenia / Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh – France announces €15 million in additional aid (Dec. 8, 2023)

France will continue its support for Armenia and the Armenian people following the November 30th vote in Parliament, providing €15 million in emergency aid for Armenia and refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh.

This additional aid will help support the efforts by NGOs, the ICRC, the Armenian Red Cross and UN agencies to welcome and look after the social, medical, educational and financial needs of these particularly vulnerable populations. This latest aid package brings our 2023 contribution to €27.5 million. Emergency medical supplies were also turned over to the Armenian authorities, and French hospitals are caring for several burn patients. This support is accompanied by fundraising efforts by civil society organizations and local governments to help the Armenian people.

Israel/Palestinian Territories – Construction of housing units in East Jerusalem (Dec. 8, 2023)

France strongly condemns the Israeli authorities’ decision announced on December 6 to authorize the construction of 1,800 new housing units in settlements in East Jerusalem. Settlement activity is illegal under international law.

By approving the new settlement construction projects, the Israeli government is compromising the possibility of a viable, contiguous Palestinian State and is jeopardizing the prospect for a two-state solution, which is the only way to satisfy both Israel’s security needs and the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for a state of their own. We call on the Israeli authorities to reverse this decision.


Do you have any comment on yesterday evening’s announcement regarding Armenia and Azerbaijan? Is it a first step toward normalization? What is the significance of this announcement?

France welcomes the positive signal sent by the joint statement issued by Armenia and Azerbaijan and the goodwill gestures by both countries, particularly regarding a prisoner exchange.

We hope these announcements are a first step toward resolving the situation of prisoners, detainees and the disappeared.

France supports the swift resumption of negotiations on a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with the support of the EU and the United States. As the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs has said repeatedly, there can be no lasting peace without respect for international law and the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders between the two nations.

Does France believe that there is a credible path for negotiations in the Israel-Hamas war?

Against the backdrop of the current crisis, France underscores the urgent need to reestablish a political horizon in order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and our determination to contribute to that goal. The two-state solution continues to be the only viable solution to satisfy the Israeli need for security and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent state living in peace and security alongside Israel.

In this regard, France wishes to remind you that Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. It is therefore important to strengthen the role of the Palestinian Authority, the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and their aspirations. That has been France’s unwavering position, and it is the third pillar of the Peace and Security Initiative presented by President Macron during his visit to the Middle East in late October. It is the aim of efforts by President Macron and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs in the various forums where France is working to advance a solution to the current crisis, particularly at the UN, and in our many discussions with our partners in the region.

During the Follow-up meeting to the International Humanitarian Conference for the Civilian Population in Gaza held on December 6, the Minister reiterated France’s call for a new, immediate and lasting humanitarian truce that must lead to a permanent ceasefire. This is an essential precondition for delivering more humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza, ensuring the release of all hostages and reestablishing a political horizon.

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