We fully support MINUSCA in this robust action
CAR/Peace Process/Syria - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 15 February 2017
The meeting on Central African Republic is important for a couple of reasons.
Number one, I am sure that you saw that over the weekend, a MINUSCA’s attack helicopter opened fire against an armed group of men and pick-ups who were on their way to loot and fight in the town of Ippy, in CAR. They were an imminent and direct threat to civilian populations there. So it was a serious thing and we cannot tolerate the criminal activities and fighting of these armed groups any more.
So we fully support MINUSCA in this robust action. Even if we regret that while a number of armed elements were neutralized, others were able to pursue in their movement towards Ippy and Bambari. MINUSCA has to do more to strengthen its credibility towards armed groups, including through action on the ground. But again, we fully support them and will fully support any action that contributes to this objective.
Second message, these actions are also a reminder that various militias in CAR are trying to derail the process of stabilization and reconciliation. This again is not acceptable. Firmness is needed. The renewal a few days ago of the sanctions resolution regime in CAR at the unanimity of the Security Council was a strong message and signal of unity of the Council towards these groups and also in support of the political process in CAR. So we need to continue to stand united and strong behind the UN, behind the MINUSCA in CAR.
That’s the message I wanted to pass on to you and that is why this meeting is important.
Q: The White House yesterday said that the two-state solution for Israel/Palestine might not be the solution. Are you worried about that?
Let me just remind you of a very clear French position here, based on our attachment on the two-state solution. That’s what the Paris conference on 15 January was all about : reaffirming the attachment of the international community to the two-state solution, and establishing a package of positive incentives towards the parties in order to encourage them go this path toward a two-state solution.
Q: How dangerous do you think to see major players on this matter will retreat from one of the principles of the peace process in the Middle East?
It is not up to me to comment on other countries’ positions but I can tell you that our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever.
Q: On CAR, the helicopter killed civilians. How many were killed and what mechanism do you think should be put in place to find out who actually was killed by this action? I heard three civilians were killed, is that true?
We are assessing the situation there after the helicopter’s intervention. But again what I wanted to tell you in my brief opening remarks is that MINUSCA is doing a very good job, it has our full support, it has a robust mandate and is absolutely needed today to implement this mandate in a robust way in order to make sure that the implementation of the peace accord is on the right track. That’s what we do and we should not show any weakness in this respect.
Q: On chemical weapons in Syria, we heard from Paris yesterday that you were preparing to table a resolution.
Absolutely, there is no doubt about it.
Q: When ?
We have always said that not only the threat but again the use of weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons in this case in Syria and against civilian populations, is absolutely unacceptable. If we believe one minute in the role of the UN in this respect against the risk of proliferation, we have to act. So we have always been very clear about the fact that we will act. The question was when. I believe this report of Human Right Watch a few days ago is an additional reminder of the fact that chemical weapons have been and are being used again and again in Syria. This is simply not acceptable. What is at stake here is the future of the the non-proliferation regime. So the stakes cannot be higher. And we are consulting with our friends, especially our British friends at the Security Council, to see when we will put this resolution on the table. So it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
Q: Is France running for any other UN position? One the 3 other candidates for the DPKO, Sylvie Bermann, is she in line for any other UN position, or do you believe that with Mr Lacroix getting DPKO, c’est fini?
You should ask the Secretary-General.
Q: On the appointment of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is one year mandate too short? Do you know why it’s only one year?
Again it’s not up to me to comment on this, please ask Mr Guterres. It’s a purely technical issue. Since the other three key postings have been postponed for a year, this is just an adjustment. So this is a completely, purely technical issue. But again please ask Mr Guterres and Stephane Dujarric.
I’ve known Jean-Pierre Lacroix for decades. As I said yesterday, he is an outstanding diplomat. His knowledge of the UN is really second to none. So he will bring a lot to this organization. His appointment by the Secretary-General is good news for the UN.