Children in armed conflict is a top priority for France
Libya / Children in armed conflict - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, - Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 8 February 2017
Two words, one on Libya, one on children in armed conflict.
On Libya, the stakes are particularly important. As you know, we fully support the efforts by the Presidential Council and Primer Minister Sarraj to work on the inclusiveness - that’s the key word - and efficiency of the institutions, within the frame of the Skhirat agreement. And the growing consensus in Libya on this important process is a positive trend. So let’s think positive about Libya.
Number two, still there are many challenges ahead in this country, and for the Libyan population, including economic challenges, fight against terrorism and smuggling of migrants off the coast of Libya. So let’s think positive about Libya but let’s be aware of the many challenges ahead.
This is why the UN mediation is more important than ever and the role of regional actors is also very important to keep up the constructive dynamic on the political process and to keep the mobilization on the situation in Libya. There’s no other solution in Libya than political.
And it is therefore more important than ever that the Security Council stands united and mobilized behind the political process in Libya. It is for France a key priority. And needless to say the UN Secretary General is personally, fully mobilized. It is important.
One word on children in armed conflict because it is very much in France’s DNA. You remember the Paris Engagements and Principles adopted 10 years ago under French leadership. We consider we have a special responsibility on this question of children in armed conflict. There is a forum this morning chaired by the PGA to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the SRSG mandate on children in armed conflict.
It’s a top priority for us, and will remain so. As I told you we have been playing a leading role to mobilize the international community on this. We will continue. And we consider that it is part of our DNA to mobilize on that and to make sure that the international community stays mobilized on the protection of children in armed conflict. It is a very important priority for us.
It is also the 10th anniversary of the Paris Commitments on the illegal recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. In this respect, I want you to be aware that France together with UNICEF will organize a Ministerial Conference in Paris in 2 weeks, on February 21st, to mark this important anniversary.
Q: Saudi Arabia coalition being taken off the list of children in armed conflict. How do you think it should be reconsidered? Now Mrs Zerrougui is leaving, is there any process as they have been taken off because they made financial threats?
Regardless of this issue I think that Leila Zerrougui did a very good job and I want to pay tribute to Leila Zerrougui’s commitment and hard work, she really made a difference.
Q: About the recent proposal by the US administration for the creation of safe zone (in Syria), there are a lot of discussions and proposals about that, how would France like to see this proposition, do you support the creation of a safe zone and how would you like it to be done?
It is a very important question. We have always seen safe zones and the possibility of safe zones with constructive eyes - from the beginning. Of course there are challenges, there are questions about how and where and under which conditions. So it’s not an easy thing. I fully agree with what the Secretary-General recently said about it. But again our first inclination is a positive one, based on the key objectives of such key zones. So we are ready to work with our American friends of course and also with the UN family and the UNSG about it, with open eyes, with some questions, but with a positive inclination.
Q: On Libya, this has been going on for years and you are talking about a very slow process and now you’ve got the Islamic State extremist group and Al Qaida and others in there. Is there really a light at the end of the tunnel in Libya, are we going to see a successful functioning country anytime in the near future?
Yes there is hope. There were some pretty good results with respect to the fight against Daesh and Al Qaida in Libya, there were some successes in this respect. Number two, the more the political process is gaining traction the less the terrorists organizations have room and space to prosper. So of course it is slow, it is too slow, but that’s why we want to be fully engaged, to fully support the UN efforts, the SG’s personal commitment also. And we think, yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, it depends on us, depends on the Libyans, of course, on the fact that the regional players are gathering and make sure that they are united on a positive track. Again I think we are collectively making some progress. So I believe it’s important to have a positive narrative with respect to Libya.