France calls for de-escalation in Gulf
Crisis in the Gulf – Iran/Yemen – Reply by M. Marc Fesneau, Minister for Relations with Parliament, attached to the Prime Minister, to a question in the Senate
Paris, 20 June 2019
Iran’s nuclear programme
Regarding the first part of your question, protecting the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in 2015 is in the security interests of France, Europe and the world. This strong belief has guided our action throughout recent months, despite the American withdrawal more than a year ago now.
We’ve recently witnessed an increase in tension and provocations in the waters of the Persian Gulf and beyond. The latest incidents involving oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman are helping fuel already strong tension; full light must be shed on these events. It’s important to avoid an uncontrolled escalation and to prioritize dialogue in order to reduce the tension.
The priority is for Iran to remain a party to the nuclear deal; that’s also what the French President reiterated to the United States President during the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. All the government’s efforts are geared to that.
In view of this, Iran must comply with its obligations and the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, must continue to verify this. Iran must be able to benefit from the Vienna agreement, as the latter provides for. All the parties must seek the path to de-escalation through discreet, modest gestures: the government is working in that direction.
Regarding the second part of your question, the Yemeni people are indeed undergoing a terrible humanitarian crisis in that conflict, which has gone on for too long. The talks held in Sweden in December under the aegis of the United Nations enabled the prospect of peace to emerge for the first time in years. Their results have been endorsed by the Security Council. A United Nations observation mission has been deployed on the ground in the coastal city of Hudaydah. In that city and around it, the parties are observing a ceasefire, which is being relatively well complied with. The United Nations’ mediation through the work of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is seeking to secure a comprehensive agreement bringing together the Yemeni parties.
France is working to ensure these peace efforts are concluded, with the Yemeni government and the Houthis, the Arab countries and Iran. In this crisis, we’re talking to all those involved, without exceptions and without being naïve; given our international responsibilities, we’re being especially vigilant about this./.