CAR : attacks against humanitarian workers are unacceptable
Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
30 January 2018
One word first on the situation in the CAR, as we are about to vote on a resolution renewing the sanctions regime in the country. Just three very quick points on CAR:
1/We strongly believe that the conditions are not met as we speak to ease the arms embargo in the CAR, as illicit arms flowing from neighboring countries into CAR and benefiting armed groups there are still at a high level. The resolution that we are about to vote will renew the measures on the arms embargo, travel bans and assets freezes.
2/ Second, and this is something new, the resolution on CAR focuses on incitement to violence, whether ethnic, religious or against MINUSCA. The sanctions regime will now allow us to sanction individuals who incite violence likely to harm the peace, stability and security of the country. So it sends a strong political message to the perpetrators. Those responsible for inciting such violence must know they will be held accountable. This is something new.
3/ And the second thing that is new in the resolution, equally very important, is the fact that the resolution also focuses on attacks against humanitarian workers, which is now a ground for sanctions. It is a very important point, as there is an increasing number of attacks against humanitarian workers in CAR which is completely unacceptable, and we know that the Central African Republic is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for humanitarian workers. So please pay attention to this resolution. This is a very important one.
Q: Ambassador, how do you assess the situation in Aden? Do you have any plans to discuss the situation in Aden, Yemen?
The situation in Yemen was one of the issues mentioned yesterday during our productive and excellent conversation with President Trump at the White House. So yes, definitively, this is a source of concern and this is one of our priorities.
Q: Ambassador, did you hear anything in Washington and especially in your meeting with President Trump that reassured you about the Iran nuclear dear or perhaps you are even more worried?
It is not up to me of course to say what President Trump told us about this, as I am sure you will understand. The only thing I can say is that yes, this was one of the topics quite high on the agenda of our conversation with the President. And as far as France is concerned, I recalled France’s position with respect to the fact that we are strongly attached to the JCPOA but also very concerned about other issues and therefore committed to addressing the best way possible the ballistic missile issue as well as regional issues.
Q: Did Ambassador Haley or any of the US officials indicated to the Security Council when then plan to push for UN actions against Iran?
The short answer is no. In terms of timing, no. Not that I am aware of.
We know a bit about the American priorities in this respect but there was no sense of timing, no specifics about it yesterday.
In Syria, I think the situation as we see it, in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib in particular, is simply unacceptable. There is a humanitarian tragedy taking place before our eyes, before the eyes of the international community. The situation is getting worse day after day there and this is our priority today, especially as we are about to have consultations about the humanitarian situation in Syria - and we call for a strong reaction of the international community. We cannot look away confronted with such a tragedy. The visit that we paid yesterday with my colleagues of the Security Council in Washington to the Holocaust Memorial, where we saw the Ceasar exhibition on Syria, was not only heartbreaking but also, I believe, a strong incentive for all of us to take action.
Q: Do you support de Mistura’s decision to participate in the Sotchi conference? Do you support De Mistura’s decision?
The situation is what it is. Now, in our views, there is no alternative to Geneva and to a UN-led process where, as I said many times, the UN must be front and center. But if we want to succeed in Geneva, there are a couple of things that must be done. First and foremost we need to address the humanitarian tragedy in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib that I was referring to. And secondly, the regime has to engage seriously into discussions and negotiation, which it has so far refused to do, as was illustrated again in the last days.
Q: Ambassador, in the meeting with President Trump, other than the nuclear dear, were there any discussions about the Iran’s regional role? Were there any broader discussions about Iran in that meeting?
The situation in Iran was part of our discussions.