Equality among states is non-negotiable, France says at UN
At the UN on Thursday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna declared that her country defends the principle of equality between states – “a principle that no one can or must compromise” – and supports “African solutions to crises in Africa”.
Focusing a large portion of her address to the General Assembly on global hotspots and the situation in Africa, Ms. Colonna said that: “We believe in African solutions to African crises, and we support African regional organizations whenever they request support from their partners”.
In Niger, France thus supports the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “in its efforts to reestablish a constitutional order called into question by force, since the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum, facing a putsch attempt,” she said.
Finding solutions in Sudan
She also took the example of Sudan, where a deadly war has been raging for more than five months and where civilians are the first victims of this conflict.
It is the international community’s duty to continue, “relentlessly”, to seek solutions for peace, she said, adding that: “We once again ask the belligerents to stop fighting and spare civilians, to allow a humanitarian truce and to bring about an inclusive political solution.”
As for the conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), “which for so long has been based on the same sources and has produced the same victims,” she said: “Here too, France supports regional conflict resolution mechanisms, to facilitate a negotiated and peaceful solution.”
According to Ms. Colonna, “France is and will remain a reliable and constant ally of African regional organizations when they fight for peace, for development, for democracy and for the security of the continent.”
Russian aggression against Ukraine
Regarding the war in Ukraine, she stated that “nothing, neither morally nor legally, can ever justify invading its neighboring territory, attempting annexations through unworthy maneuvers and to torture the population.”
“What we see is the expression of pure brutality, capable of using all weapons, even that of hunger, to try to resuscitate its imperialist chimera,” she added.
She observed that faced with this, other nations, including France, are taking concrete action, by financing deliveries from the World Food Programme (WFP) for the benefit of the most fragile states, by facilitating the export of Ukrainian cereals through the corridors of solidarity of the European Union.
France had also supported financing ambitious programmes throughout the world for the development of local agriculture and for support for school canteens.
Defending cultural heritage
Foreign Minister Colonna stressed that France also defends the principle of the inviolability of the historical heritage of nations, “this heritage of the cultures of humanity”.
“In Mosul and Timbuktu yesterday, in Odessa or Lviv today, everywhere France supports the actions of those who defend the historical treasures of countries that hatred threatens to destroy,” she said.
She added that France also supports the principle of the fight against impunity, noting that its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) is expressed as well in the Sahel to judge the jihadists “whom France had subdued yesterday and which once again threaten an entire region”, than in Ukraine “where war crimes are committed daily against the population”.
“What is happening in Ukraine concerns us all. If we let our common principles be transgressed there, they will be transgressed everywhere, if we let one aggression be rewarded, others will occur, there or elsewhere,” she said.
Full statement in French available here.