Iraq – Middle East – Q&A – from the press briefing (3 January 2020)


Q: What is France’s reaction to the American airstrike in Baghdad that killed the Iranian General Suleimani, and to Iran’s subsequent statements vowing vengeance? Will France offer to mediate, is it was able to do in the past? Was France notified ahead of time by its American partners?

A: I refer you to the communiqué issued after Jean-Yves Le Drian’s conversation with his American counterpart.

Q: The Iraqi Prime Minister’s office reported a call today from Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during which he thanked his counterpart for the release of two French journalists who were abducted in late December. Can you confirm that two French journalists were abducted and have been released?

A: We have no comment.

Q: Concerning the previous question on the abduction of two journalists in Iraq, do you advise French nationals to leave Iraq?

A: We reiterate that there is an advisory in effect for the entire country of Iraq.

French citizens who are currently in the country should limit their movements to what is strictly necessary, avoid any gatherings and more broadly, stay away from official civilian or military buildings, exercise the utmost caution, and keep informed of developments in the situation.

These recommendations will be updated as the situation evolves.

As for all the countries of the Gulf and the Middle East, following the recent events in Iraq and a rise in tensions in the region, it is recommended to exercise extra caution and remain doubly alert, to stay away from any gatherings, to keep abreast of changes in the situation, and to consult the (travel advisories (in French) of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and French embassy websites, which are constantly updated.