France’s Hollande, at UN Assembly, urges climate action, aid for Africa and an end to Syria’s war

20 September 2016

France launched a threefold appeal at the United Nations General Assembly today for the swift implementation of last December’s Paris accord on climate change, a major increase in aid for Africa, and an immediate ceasefire in Syria and the provision of humanitarian aid.

“There’s not a moment to lose,” President François Hollande told the Assembly’s general debate on its opening day. “I therefore called on all countries to speedily conclude all steps before the end of the year.”

On Africa, he proposed an “Agenda 2020” to give all Africans access to electricity, and warned that there will be no development there without security being guaranteed, noting France’s own intervention in 2013 that prevented terrorists from seizing control of Mali.

“Today the threat is posed mainly by Boko Haram (in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region) and organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Da’esh [also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant],” he said.

“Faced with this scourge the countries of West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad region know they can count on France. We are at their sides, we are training them, we are supporting them in all fields, including the crucial need for intelligence,” he added.

On Syria, Mr. Hollande said France would call on the UN Security Council to meet and advance four demands: impose a ceasefire, demand the immediate and unconditional provision of humanitarian aid to Aleppo and other besieged cities, allow for the resumption of political negotiations, and denounce and impose sanction on the regime’s recent use of chemical weapons.

“The conflict has caused 400,000 deaths, Aleppo is a martyred city, thousands of children have been crushed under bombs, entire communities starved, humanitarian convoys are attacked, chemical weapons are used,” he declared. “Enough already! The Syrian tragedy will stand before history to shame this Assembly if we do not end it now,” he stated.

Mr. Hollande said France is also seeking a meeting by the end of the year where Israel and then Palestinians will have both the capacity and responsibility to negotiate a solution to their conflict based on two states living side by side in peace and security.


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