Joint press statement by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and France (Paris, 11 March 20)

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Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Ann Linde, and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, met in Paris yesterday, at a time when the world is facing many challenges and threats. The deeply disturbing developments in Idlib leading to a humanitarian catastrophe, the rapid spread of the coronavirus and the climate crisis are examples that confirm the need for enhanced international cooperation and active diplomacy to build peace and security.

In this context, while recalling that France and Sweden are both engaged members of the Alliance for Multilateralism, and in line with the "Declaration on cooperation between France and Sweden in the field of European Affairs, as endorsed on June 7th, 2019 by French President Emmanuel Macron and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, the Ministers decided to strengthen cooperation on foreign and security policy in areas related to peace, security and democracy. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to the Euro-Atlantic security order and a comprehensive approach to security where security is intertwined with democracy, the respect for international law and human rights.
The Ministers also underlined the importance of the joint efforts conducted within the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy. They also welcomed their cooperation in the European Intervention Initiative.

The Ministers discussed the need for a coherent and active engagement on security, development and humanitarian aid in the Sahel and underlined the contribution of the ‘Coalition for the Sahel’ as a framework for strategic and political engagement with the Sahel. They underlined the centrality of the UN’s efforts and coordination role in the region. They welcomed the close cooperation between Sweden and France regarding the Sahel. Current tensions around the Gulf will need to be addressed through a long-term strategic approach and an active EU-role in support for an inclusive regional dialogue. They also discussed other foreign policy issues such as Iran and the continued importance of Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, and the upcoming NPT review conference.

Sweden and France reaffirmed that the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of each state, is the only framework that makes it possible to meet the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians and, in so doing, to bring about a lasting solution to the conflict.

Ministers confirmed their commitment to building a strong and effective Europe that responds to citizens’ needs and, in this context, looked forward to the next Conference on the Future of Europe. The deliberations highlighted issues of common interest where Ministers decided to work more closely together.

Transnational organised crime is a threat to our common security and requires a collective response. Ministers expressed their readiness to share best practices and lessons learned. The soon-to-be appointed Swedish Ambassador in charge of combatting organised crime will work closely with the French counterpart to foster cooperation and promote appropriate initiatives at EU and international level.

Ministers agreed to intensify cooperation on emerging technologies, as well as cyber security, aiming at strengthening the capacity of the EU to secure critical infrastructure for the maintenance of vital societal and economic functions, counter cyber threats. The discussions underlined the shared view that the EU has the instruments and potential to become a leading global security policy actor in this area. France and Sweden share a common ambition for a safe, open, single and neutral digital space.

The Ministers confirmed their already strong collaboration for gender equality and all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and economic and social conditions. France, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and Sweden, as incoming chairperson of the OSCE in 2021, will jointly increase efforts to support women’s participation in conflict prevention, peace processes as well as in post-conflict reconstruction. In parallel, Sweden and France will jointly advance gender equality in all realms of the European Union as well as press on with their joint diplomatic initiative to fight trafficking for sexual exploitation. Ministers reiterated their close cooperation in the run-up to the Generation Equality Forum to be held in Mexico City on 7-8 May and Paris on 7-10 July.

Finally, the ministers agreed that our two countries would benefit from greater coordination to promote our convergences, particularly at European level with a view to their next Trio of presidencies in 2022-2023 and a joint commitment to supporting a strong and cohesive EU foreign and security policy.