President Macron’s statement to the UN General Assembly
On Tuesday, September 22, the president of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron addressed the United Nations General Assembly to outline the main lines of France’s foreign policy. He presented five priorities on which France wishes to build the "foundations of a new contemporary consensus". One of them concerns the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Here are some highlights.
“The first principle, or goal, is the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and against the terrorism that threatens our collective security, first and foremost.
The maximum pressure strategy that has been applied for several years has not yet brought an end to Iran’s destabilizing activities, nor has it reassured us that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons. That is why France, as you will recall, was not the country to initiate negotiations at the time, nor did it draw up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
But France, alongside its German and British partners, will continue to demand that the 2015 Vienna agreement is fully and comprehensively implemented, and will not accept violations committed by Iran.
Notwithstanding, we will not compromise on the activation of a mechanism that the United States, on its own initiative in withdrawing from the agreement, is not in a position to activate. This would undermine the unity of the Security Council, the integrity of its decisions and it would risk worsening the tensions in the region.
We must build a lasting and practical framework for action, which I mentioned at the General Assembly more than two years ago, which means expanding on the 2015 agreement. First of all in terms of time, to ensure that over the long term, Iran will never obtain nuclear weapons, but also by ensuring that we will provide answers to Iran’s ballistic activities and its destabilizing activities in the region.
On North Korea, we supported the efforts made by the United States of America to engage negotiations. While tangible results have not yet been produced, these initiatives were important and now we are awaiting concrete commitments from North Korea. It must comply with the Security Council resolutions and swiftly engage in good faith in a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization process. That is the only way forward to reach a political solution and sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula. It is vital for regional stability and security, and for international peace and security.
Similarly, we will not tolerate chemical weapons being used in Europe, Russia or Syria. For the sake of our collective security, I repeat once more to Russia the need for full light to be shed on the murder attempt on a political opposition figure using a nerve agent, Novichok. This clarification must be swift and unfailing, because we will ensure our red lines are respected. On that topic, France has always ensured that the red lines we have drawn are respected, since I became President of the French Republic.”
“In terms of method, that requires the establishment of functional international cooperation based on clearly defined and universally respected rules. Multilateralism is not just an act of faith; it is an operational necessity. No country can overcome this challenge alone. International cooperation may be difficult, but it is objectively essential. Nonetheless, we can no longer settle for a multilateralism of words, which merely serves to agree on the highest common denominator, as a way of hiding deep divides behind a façade of consensus.
We need to find a new method, reverse the terms of the contract, and ensure our voice is heard loud and clear when others pride themselves on signing up to alliances and their principles, organizations and their principles, just to trample them in reality. Let us be honest, clear-headed and demanding amongst ourselves. Modern multilateralism must also bring together international organizations, private stakeholders, businesses, NGOs, researchers and citizens so that everyone can play a role in the actions undertaken. It will be built on a foundation of solid agreements that are complied with and verified among partners of good faith, based on clear goals and rules, and with genuine responsibility and accountability.”