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Participation of Laurent Fabius in the 68th United Nations General Assembly (New York, September 22 to 28, 2013)

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was in New York from September 22 to 28 for the 68th United Nations General Assembly. He had been accompanied by Pascal Canfin, minister delegate for development, and Yamina Benguigui, minister delegate for French-speaking communities. The foreign minister presented our objectives for this ministerial week to the press on September 23 at 11 A.M. at France’s Permanent Delegation to the United Nations.

In addition to Syria our priorities for this week were as follows.

1) All of our regional priorities had been discussed in New York, including:

- the Sahel and Mali, at a high-level meeting on September 26 hosted by the UN secretary-general. Its objective had been to lay the foundations of the UN strategy developed at France’s behest, covering challenges relating to security, governance and development.

- the Central African Republic, at a meeting on September 25 co-hosted by European humanitarian affairs commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs Valerie Amos. At this meeting, all possible means had been examined to strengthen international efforts to respond to the crisis in the CAR.

- the Great Lakes region, at a high-level meeting on September 23 dealing with follow-up to the framework agreement signed on February 24 in Addis Ababa. That agreement was aimed at achieving a comprehensive political solution in the region.

- the Iranian nuclear issue, during a ministerial meeting of the E3+3 with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and on the occasion of a bilateral meeting between the foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart, Mr. Zarif. These meetings offered an opportunity to stress the need for Iran to make swift, concrete gestures to respond to the international community’s concerns over its nuclear program.

- Lebanon, after the launch of the international support group established under the auspices of the UN secretary-general on September 25. The purpose of this group was to find ways to help Lebanon face the humanitarian, security and economic consequences of the Syria crisis.

2) This ministerial week also enabled France to advance its multilateral priorities:

- climate change, with a meeting on September 26 to prepare the Warsaw Conference (the so-called COP-19) organized by the European Commission for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard and the Norwegian environment minister, Bård Vegar Solhjell. This is a priority ahead of the 2015 international conference on climate change (COP-21), which France is scheduled to host in Paris.

- sustainable development, with a meeting organized by France, Nigeria and the UNDP on innovative financing as a means to implement the post-2015 development agenda, as well as participation in the opening session of the High-Level Political Forum to boost sustainable development and the special event on follow-up efforts being made toward achieving the Millennium Goals.

- human rights, beginning with the campaign to universally abolish the death penalty—the theme of an event organized by France on September 27 with regional organizations as well as Costa Rica, Mongolia and Benin, which are all deeply committed to this issue. Women’s rights had also been discussed at a meeting with the executive director of UN-Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

3) As every year, the foreign minister also met with his foreign counterparts on the sidelines of these events.

Meetings were scheduled with the foreign ministers of Algeria, Australia, Burundi, Chile, China, Egypt, Japan, Kuwait, Iran, Mauritania, Mongolia, Tanzania and the U.S. Laurent Fabius is also met with the Somali president and the secretary-general of the Arab League.

4) Bilateral meetings had been held on the sidelines of the ministerial week.

On September 25, Mr. Fabius gave a speech at Columbia University on French proposals for the future of Europe. On Monday morning, he visited a bilingual school attended by 250 children in Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a growing number of French residents, and on Friday, he inaugurated the French bookstore in New York on the site of the cultural center and which will be a showcase for French literary activity. As is traditional, the foreign minister also met with representatives of American Jewish organizations.

To promote our economic diplomacy, Laurent Fabius met nearly 80 French business leaders working in the U.S., along with foreign trade advisers, and visited the Taste of France trade show whose aim is to promote French excellence in all sectors (innovation, high tech, lifestyles, tourism, luxury, culture, etc.). About a hundred exhibitors and 100,000 visitors are expected.

Finally, on September 26 at 7:30 P.M., Mr. Fabius attended the traditional reception for the French-speaking community at the French Consulate, where he was joined by the UN secretary general.


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