Jean Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas discussed today the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who is currently receiving medical care in Germany, with toxic chemical agents.
They are both appalled by this attack on Mr Navalny, which constitutes a most serious blow against the basic principles of democracy and political pluralism. They note that this attack on the physical integrity of a Russian opposition figure was sadly not an isolated incident. They express in this context their expectation that the Russian authorities will guarantee the conditions for the exercise of fundamental civil and political rights by the Russian people.
They reiterate and reaffirm the fact that the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, anytime, by anybody, under any circumstances whatsoever, is unacceptable and contravenes the international norms prohibiting the use of such weapons. This new incident involving a Novichok nerve agent is profoundly shocking.
The two Ministers reaffirm their full support for the absolute prohibition of the use of chemical weapons, the tenet underlying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), whose states parties are obliged to ensure its full and complete implementation on their national territory. Together with their partners they will coordinate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to consider the implications of this event and, if need be, will seek the support of this organisation.
It is as a first step essential that Russia, on whose territory this new violation of international law took place, urgently clarifies in full the facts and responsibilities behind this assassination attempt on a member of the Russian political opposition using a military-grade nerve agent that belongs to a group of agents developed by Russia.
Those responsible for this odious act must be identified and brought to justice. The two Ministers recall their engagement in the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, under the auspices of which they will work on joint initiatives.
The Governments of Germany and France again convey to Mr Navalny and his loved ones their sympathy and support and their wishes for a speedy recovery.