"Burundi: it’s not about status quo."
Remarks to the Press by Francois Delattre
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
10 March 2017
Burundi statement : ça prend du temps, non ?
Well, it takes time because it’s no easy. It’s never easy. We had the opportunity to talk about Burundi yesterday, and this is a very important issue. As I told you the risks are high. You know in Burundi it’s not about status quo, either we make some progress in terms of the implementation of the 2303, in terms of the presence of the international community, in terms of the respect for human rights, engagement of a true inclusive dialogue, respect of the Arusha accords, or we go towards at least the risk of a down spiral, the situation getting out of control. There is no middle ground. And that’s why we push hard again for the Security Council to assume its responsibility and to convince the government and all the parties to be serious about the dialogue engaged by Mr. MKapa and the implementation of Resolution 2303.
What’s the problem with the statement then? What’s holding it up?
Our assessment in good faith is that everything is not dark of course but the situation is getting worse in many respects and could get out of control and lead us to unknown territories: you know - again - respect for human rights for example; the fact that the Arusha accords are more and more threatened in the words of many politicians, but also in the actions of some of them; the fact that the dialogue that has been engaged is itself shaky.
Ambassador, about the meeting on Iraq, about Mosul: since the beginning of the operation, there’s only been – this is going to be only the third meeting about the humanitarian situation in Iraq. Comparing to the Syria and Yemen meetings, it seems that the Council is not so engaged about this issue, especially now we have more reporting of displacement… Why is that?
I would respectfully disagree. I think the Council is very much aware of the importance and also the risks, the humanitarian risks associated with the operations in Mosul. The real difference is that we have been working very hard for weeks, even for months to prepare for this military operations in order to accompany them with a humanitarian operation to take care of the refugees, of the displaced persons in particular. So the interest of the international community and the Security Council in what is happening in Mosul, not only on military terms but also with respect to humanitarian and environmental policies is very high in the hierarchy of our priorities.
Should the Council take new actions on Syria chemical weapons?
After the double veto you heard me say that it was not the end of the story. We had no agreement at the time with Russia and China, but we’ll get new information about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and we really hope, sincerely hope that based on the new information that by definition we’ll have we’ll be able, together, to roll up our sleeves and to find common ground with everybody, with the Russians, with the Chinese, and a common assessment, and therefore a common decision by the Security Council. The stakes are simply too high, we cannot disagree at the Security Council in the longer run on such a vital question which is again not only the proliferation but also the use of weapons of mass destructions against civilian population. If we disagree on that, frankly what is the use of the Security Council?
Ambassador, about accountability, ISIS accountability, yesterday Amal Clooney said that Iraq still has not sent that letter to start an international investigation into crimes of ISIS. If that letter has not been sent by Iraqi government in the next couple of months, do you think the Council should act by its own under the Chapter 7 to start such an investigation?
I personally much appreciated what Amal Clooney does and said yesterday in this regard. I also publicly supported her and I wanted to do so because I think impunity with respect to the crimes committed by Daech in Iraq is simply not an option. It’s like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: if we at the security council just look away, then there is no international order, then the values that we are supposed to defend day after day are meaningless. So we have the moral and political responsibility to move forward and find ways to fight against impunity in Iraq and Syria, well in that case in Iraq. And let’s try to find a solution with the Iraqi authorities, let’s work with them in good faith, that’s what we are trying to do. And I personally think that Madam Clooney’s commitment to this fight is welcome and helpful and even needed, to move, to shake a bit the international community.