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France luads peace progress in Mali, condemns Russian veto on Syria

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  • Use of child soldiers in Yemen

…Jude Johnson 

France has welcomed peace moves that led to the installation of an interim authority in the Kidal region of Mali on February 28.

 The Spokesperson for French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr. Romain Nadal, on Wednesday, said it constitutes further progress toward implementing the peace and reconciliation agreement and should ensure better political representation of the populations in northern Mali.

“It represents an important step toward restoring the authority of the Malian state throughout the country,” Nadal.

He said that France encourages the signatory parties to continue implementing the Algiers agreements, notably with respect to the installation of interim authorities in all regions of northern Mali. 

The Spokesperson also assured he will continue to lend its support to efforts to promote peace, security and development in Mali.

In a related development, France condemned Russian veto of the draft resolution it did together with the United States and the United Kingdom, presented to the UN Security Council, aimed at imposing sanctions on the perpetrators of the chemical attacks in Syria confirmed by the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM).

“Russia decided to veto this text. We bear a heavy responsibility toward the Syrian people and the rest of humanity,” Nadal stated.

He said by adopting the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the international community sought to banish once and for all the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons of mass destruction. 

The statement read: “This non-proliferation regime must be preserved at all costs. It has a key role to play in ensuring peace and international security.

“The use of chemical weapons by the regime and by Daesh in Syria, including against civilian populations, is intolerable. The crimes of those who choose to use such weapons must not go unpunished. This is why France took the initiative, together with its partners, to present this draft resolution. It deeply regrets the fact that the Security Council was not able to present a united front in order to draw the consequences of such acts.”

 “France will not resign itself to the brutality that continues to be unleashed on the Syrian people. It will continue its efforts, together with its partners, to combat impunity and the use of chemical weapons. It would like the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to remain fully mobilized in this regard.”

 Use of child soldiers in Yemen 

France has also  condemned  the use of child soldiers by the Houthis, a practice documented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

 Against this backdrop, France called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to abide by international law, which prohibits the use of children in armed conflicts. 

“As part of the 10th anniversary of the Paris Principles and Commitments, on February 21 we joined with UNICEF in hosting the international conference on ‘Protecting Children from War,’ on the fate of children in armed conflicts, ” Nadal stated.

 France also.emphasised the urgent need to find a political solution that alone can prevent further deterioration in Yemen’s security and humanitarian situation and combat terrorism. 

“We reiterate our full support for the efforts of UN special envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed,” Nadal assured .


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