Event: Pearl-MUN 2001, Security Council
Student: Abdullah Al Asousi
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France is a stable country that has a clear political structure which greatly strengthens the authority of the executive in relation to parliament. Franceís recent government is called "The Fifth Republic" which was formed by Charles de Gaulle The constitution of the Fifth Republic was approved by public referendum on September 28, 1958. The constitution has been amended several times like in 1993 to tighten immigration laws and recently in 1999 for the establishment of European Economic and Monetary Union and recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Under the constitution, the president is elected directly for a 7-year term. The president names the prime minister, presides over the cabinet, commands the armed forces, and concludes treaties. He can also dissolve the National Assembly. In certain emergency situations, the president may assume full powers. Besides the president, the other main component of France's executive branch is the cabinet, which is headed by the prime minister. Parliament meets for one 9-month session each year. Under special circumstances an additional session can be called by the president. Although parliamentary powers are diminished from those existing under the Fourth Republic, the National Assembly can still cause a government to fall if an absolute majority of the total Assembly membership votes to censure.
France comprises three basic organs the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. The National Assembly is the principal legislative body. Its deputies are directly elected to 5-year terms. Senators are chosen by an electoral college for 9-year terms. The Senate's legislative powers are limited; the National Assembly has the last word in the event of a disagreement between the two houses. The government has a strong influence in shaping the agenda of Parliament. The government also can link its life to any legislative text, and unless a motion of censure is introduced and voted, the text is considered adopted without a vote. The most distinctive feature of the French judicial system is that it is divided into Court of Cassation (civil and criminal law), Council of State (administrative court), and Constitutional Council (constitutional law).
Currently, the French president is Jacques Chirac. During his first 2 years in office, President Chirac's prime minister was Alain Juppe, who served contemporaneously as leader of Chirac's neo-Gaullist Rally for the Republic (RPR) Party. Chirac and Juppe benefited from a very large, if rather unruly, majority in the National Assembly. Mindful that the government might have to take politically costly decisions in advance of the legislative elections planned for spring 1998 in order to ensure France met the Maastricht criteria for the single European currency, Chirac decided in April 1997 to call early elections. The Left, however, led by Socialist Party leader Lionel Jospin, whom Chirac defeated in the 1995 presidential race, unexpectedly won a solid National Assembly majority. President Chirac named Jospin prime minister, and Jospin went on to form a government composed primarily of Socialist ministers. However, the current "cohabitation" (president of one party, prime minister of another) arrangement is stable, beneficial to France, and is the longest-lasting in the history of the Fifth Republic.
With a GDP of $1.4 trillion, France is the fourth-largest Western industrialized economy. It has substantial agricultural resources, a large industrial base, and a highly skilled work force. A dynamic services sector accounts for an increasingly large share of economic activity (72% in 1997) and is responsible for nearly all job creation in recent years. However, the unemployment rate is high (11%), but the government had made reducing the high unemployment rate a top economic priority. GDP growth averaged 2% between 1994 and 1998, with 3.2% recorded in 1998. Franceís current currency is the franc, but it will change to the euro in 2002, along with ten other EU countries.
Despite significant reform and privatization over the past 15 years, the government continues to control a large share of economic activity: Government spending, at 54.2% of GDP in 1998, is the highest in the G-7.
Because France has virtually no domestic oil production, it relies heavily on the development of nuclear power, which now accounts for about 80% of the country's electricity production. Nuclear waste is stored on site at reprocessing facilities.
France is the European Union's leading agricultural producer, accounting for about one-third of all agricultural land within the EU. Not only that, but itís the world's second-largest agricultural producer, after the United States. Northern France is characterized by large wheat farms. Dairy products, pork, poultry, and apple production are concentrated in the Western region. Beef production is located in central France, while the production of fruits, vegetables, and wine ranges from central to southern France. France is a large producer of many agricultural products and is currently expanding its forestry and fishery industries. The implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Uruguay Round of the GATT Agreement has resulted in reforms in the agricultural sector of the economy.
France is the second-largest trading nation in Western Europe (after Germany). Its foreign trade balance for goods has been in surplus since 1992, reaching $25.4 billion in 1998. Trade with European Union (EU) countries (Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Luxembourg) accounts for 60% of French trade. Then comes the U.S. and Japan. France mainly exports machinery and transportation equipment, chemicals, iron and steel products, agricultural products, textiles, and clothing. It mainly imports crude oil, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and agricultural products.
Since prehistoric times, France has been a crossroads of trade, travel, and invasion. Three basic European ethnic stocks--Celtic, Latin, and Teutonic (Frankish)--have blended over the centuries to make up its present population (58 million). There are also other ethnic groups like Slavic, North African, Indochinese, and Basque minorities. France's birth rate was among the highest in Europe from 1945 until the late 1960s. Since then, its birth rate has fallen but remains higher than that of most other west European countries. Traditionally, France has had a high level of immigration. About 90% of the people are Roman Catholic, less than 2% are Protestant, 1% are Muslims (second largest religion after Christianity), and about 1% are Jewish. More than 1 million Muslims immigrated in the 1960s and early 1970s from North Africa, especially Algeria. At the end of 1994, there were about 4 million persons of Muslim descent living in France.
The French military consists of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Gendarmerie. The French armed forces include 493,674 military and civilian personnel. France has had the atomic bomb since 1960 and the hydrogen bomb since 1968. It used to carry out nuclear testing in the Pacific but stopped due to growing concern over the effects of nuclear explosions on the environment. France places a high priority on arms control and non-proliferation. It supported the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995. After conducting a final series of six nuclear tests, the French signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. France has implemented a moratorium on the production, export, and use of anti-personnel landmines and supports negotiations leading toward a universal ban. The French are key players in the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe to the new strategic environment. It also signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.
France is a member of many defense and security groups and organizations. It is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and has worked actively with allies to adapt NATO--internally and externally--to the post-Cold War environment. Outside of NATO, France has actively and heavily participated in recent peacekeeping/coalition efforts in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, often taking the lead in these operations. France is also a member of the United Nations, and it is one of the five countries that have a permanent seat in the Security Council. In 1992, France and Germany made a defense force called the Eurocorps, in which both countries work together. France is also a member in the European Union (EU), and has a large influence their.
France is the largest Western European country (almost one fifth of the total area of the European Union). Its area is 551,670 sq. km. Franceís capital is Paris, and the other major cities are Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nice, and Bordeaux. France borders many countries like Belgium, Spain, UK, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland. France also faces some sees and bays like the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Biscay, English Channel, North Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. France has generally cool winters and mild summers, except for along the Mediterranean Sea where itís mild winters and hot summers. France is mostly flat and gently rolling hills in the north and west parts of the country. The remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in the south and Alps in east.
France has also other lands. France controls Bassas da India, Clipperton Island, Europa Island, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, New Caledonia, Tromelin Island, Wallis, and Futuna.
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
Views on World Problems
France's views on world problems is based on certain fundamental principles: the right of peoples to self-determination, respect for human rights and democratic principles, respect for the rule of law and cooperation among nations. Ever since 1945 European construction has been at the heart of French foreign policy. There have been several major reasons for this: the desire to restore peace and guarantee the security of the states, strengthen democratic government and build an integrated economic and monetary area able to ensure prosperity for the people of Europe. Since General de Gaulle and until now, the presidents have constantly worked to make the European edifice a reality and develop it into an economic power and respected political forum. On the economic side, the achievements, first of the six, then the twelve and today the fifteen member states, testify to the success of this policy: in 1998, the European Union's GDP of 8,346 billion dollars equaled that of the North American countries and exceeded Asia's. The Western European Union, in 1999, has made the euro its fully-fledged currency. Today, like its euro area partners, France is preparing for the introduction of notes and coins denominated in euros on January 1, 2002.
France not only wants Europe to be stable and strong, but also wants the whole world to be stable. The most obvious thing that shows this is France and the UN. Since 1945, France has constantly supported the UN, to which it is the fourth largest contributor. In 1999, it contributed a total of 377.1 million francs to the UN's ordinary budget and 590 million francs to the UN system's specialized organizations. France had also participated in many UN peacekeeping operations (in the Middle East, Africa, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia, etc.). French obligatory contributions to peacekeeping operations were 378 million francs in 1999. France still has troops serving in the UN forces in Lebanon, Palestine, Western Sahara, Angola, Georgia, and on the Iraq/Kuwait border.
As mentioned above, France is concerned about human rights. Because of that, it had donated huge amounts of money to various humanitarian organizations. France contributed a total of 404 million francs to: ICRC, WHO and UN agencies with a humanitarian role: (UNHCR - 44 million francs, UNICEF - 48 million francs , World Food Programme - 18 million francs, and UNRWA - 11 million francs. In addition, France contributed to European Union programs through ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office), to which it gave 688 million francs (17.5%) of ECHO's budget.
The Euro-Mediterranean partnership is one of France's highest priorities at a time when the peace process in the Middle East is moving into a decisive stage for the security, political stability and economic development of the whole region. At the same time, France is both strengthening its relations with Asia, and also stepping up its cooperation with the South American countries.
France was one of the earliest countries to progress from feudalism into the era of the nation-state. Its monarchs surrounded themselves with capable ministers, and French armies were among the most innovative, disciplined, and professional of their day.
During the time of Louis XIV (1643-1715), France was the dominant power in Europe. But overly ambitious projects and military campaigns of Louis led to financial problems in the 18th century. This and other causes led to the French Revolution (1789-94). Although the revolutionaries advocated republican principles of government, France reverted to forms of absolute rule or constitutional monarchy four times--the Empire of Napoleon, the Restoration of Louis XVIII, the reign of Louis-Philippe, and the Second Empire of Napoleon III. After the Franco-Prussian War (1870), the Third Republic was established and lasted until the military defeat of 1940. World War I (1914-18) brought great losses of troops and materiel. In the 1920s, France established an elaborate system of border defenses (the Maginot Line) and alliances to offset resurgent German strength. France was defeated early in World War II, however, and occupied in June 1940. The German victory left the French groping for a new policy and new leadership suited to the circumstances. In 1940, the Vichy government was established. Its senior leaders focused on sending French forced labor to Germany; in doing so, they claimed they hoped to preserve at least some small amount of French sovereignty. The German occupation proved quite costly, however, as a full one-half of France's public sector revenue was appropriated by Germany. After 4 years of occupation and strife, Allied forces liberated France in 1944.
France emerged from World War II to face a series of new problems. The Fourth Republic was set up by a new constitution and established as a parliamentary form of government controlled by a series of coalitions. The mixed nature of the coalitions and a consequent lack of agreement on measures for dealing with Indochina and Algeria caused successive cabinet crises and changes of government. Finally, in 1958, the government structure collapsed as a result of the tremendous opposing pressures generated in the divisive Algerian issue. A threatened coup led the Parliament to call on General de Gaulle to head the government and prevent civil war. He became prime minister in June 1958 (at the beginning of the Fifth Republic) and was elected president in December of that year. Seven years later, in an occasion marking the first time in the 20th century that the people of France went to the polls to elect a president by direct ballot, de Gaulle won re-election with a 55% share of the vote, defeating Francois Mitterrand. In 1969, President de Gaulle's government conducted a national referendum on the creation of 21 regions with limited political powers. The government's proposals were defeated, and de Gaulle subsequently resigned. Succeeding him as president of France were many until the Socialist Francois Mitterrand (1981-95), and neo-Gaullist Jacques Chirac (elected in spring 1995).
While France continues to revere its rich history and independence, French leaders are increasingly tying the future of France to the continued development of the European Union. During President Mitterrand's tenure, he stressed the importance of European integration and advocated the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty on European economic and political union, which France's electorate narrowly approved in September 1992. Currently, the domestic attention is on the economic reform and belt-tightening measures required for France to meet the criteria for Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) laid out by the Maastricht Treaty. In late 1995, France experienced its worst labor unrest in at least a decade, as employees protested government cutbacks. On the foreign and security policy front, Chirac took a more assertive approach to protecting French peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia and helped promote the peace accords negotiated in Dayton and signed in Paris in December 1995. The French have been one of the strongest supporters of NATO and EU policy in Kosovo and the Balkans.
1) The Issue of the Prevention of the Deployment and Development of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense System:
France believes that the Anti-Ballistic Missile defense system is very important and many countries need it to face terrorist attacks. However, there is an ABM Treaty, that was signed by the U.S.A. and the USSR on May 26, 1972, that doesnít allow the spread of Anti-Ballistic Missile defense systems. However, the ABM Treaty was signed during the Cold War and for purposes other than security from terrorist attacks. When the treaty was signed, the U.S.A. and the USSR were enemies, but now they have better relations. The time has come for a new framework that allows countries to build missile defense systems to counter the unique threats of today's world. To do so we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treaty. The Treaty does not recognize the present situation or point us to the future. It enshrines the past. Another point is that the Soviet Union no longer exists, so the treaty, logically, shouldnít exist.
The ABM defense system works by exo-atmospheric interception of incoming warheads midway toward their targets. However, this system is very expensive ($60 billion) and only the U.S. is the only country that can develop such a system. If the U.S. is the only country that can afford and make this system, then there will be an arms race between Russia, the U.S., China, and other countries which is a very bad and unstable situation, especially because it could affect France because of its location between the U.S.A. and Russia. So, France would not agree on letting the U.S. develop this system unless the remaining 4 Security Council permanent countries could have them too, and thatís by letting the U.S. share the ABM defense system so that it would become less expensive until the other countries can afford developing this system.
2. Measures to Increase the Security and Stability of the Gulf Region
France believes that the Persian Gulf region is a very important and strategic place, especially since itís rich with petroleum and gas. Therefore, France wants to have good relations with the countries of the Gulf region. There are two important issues currently in the Gulf. There is the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, which is not allowed in this yearís MUN, and the dispute between Iran and the U.A.E. about the three islands that Iran currently occupies. On this issue, France isnít really concerned. However, France doesnít want to take sides in favor of one country over another because it wants to maintain good relations with them both. That way, if the Gulf nations argue, France can still get oil products.
3. The issue of the Spratley Islands
France isnít very concerned about the Spratley Islands. However, it doesnít want to observe any war or military attacks, especially since China, a nuclear power, is involved. The Spratley or Spralty Islands is made up of many islands. China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia claim to own all the islands and the Philippines claim parts of them. In 1984, Brunei established an exclusive fishing zone, which encompasses Louisa Reef in the southern Spratley Islands, but has not publicly claimed the island.
The Philippines made their first claim in the area in 1975 The Philippines real history in the region began in May 1956 when a private Philippine expedition surveyed and occupied some of the islands. The Philippines were a trusteeship of the Allied powers at the time and the guarantee of Allied protection kept the Philippines from garrisoning troops on its islands. There are currently about 1,000 Marines stationed on the islands. In 1979, the Philippines stated that it only wanted control of the seven islands under its control and administration and not the rest of the archipelago. Malaysia has been involved in the dispute since 1979. It currently has control over three of the islands but claims the whole chain. Malaysiaís case is based on the fact that the islands are part of its continental shelf. This gives it right to the islands under the Law of the Sea Convention.
Brunei's claims to the island also rest on the Law of the Sea. It states that the southern part of the Spratley chain is actually a part of its continental shelf and therefore its territory and resources.
Taiwan has been in control of the biggest of the islands since 1956. Its claims to the island are based on its assertion that Taiwan and its Kuomintang government are the true China. Both Taiwan and the People's Republic of China say that the islands were discovered by Chinese navigators, used by Chinese fishermen for centuries, and under the administration of China since the 15th century. However, since Taiwan claims to be the true China, it believes the islands belong to it and not to the PRC.
Vietnam claims the islands are part of the empire of Annam, Vietnam's ancestor, in the l9th century. In 1815, an expedition, sent by King Gia Long to chart sea lanes, occupied and settled the islands. The French, who were Vietnams colonial rulers, annexed the Spratlyes in 1933, so Vietnam says the islands are theirs as the inheritors of the French possessions. In September 1973, Vietnam declared that the Spratleys were part of the Phuoc Tuy province. It has since stated that the Philippines are occupying part of its territory. Vietnam currently holds three islands. China currently occupies 10 Spratley islands, and they are the strongest power there. The islands are rich with oil and they're a bank for much of the fish population in the South China Sea.
France wants the issue and dispute to be solved peacefully and without any use of military weapons. Therefore, France wants to be the impartial mediator, since itís a non-involved country, and so it wonít favor one country over another, whereas the U.S.A. has bad relations with China and it recognizes Taiwan. If an agreement isnít reached, then France would encourage the countries to show their case to the ICJ and let it solve the dispute.
1. The Issue of the Prevention of the Deployment and Development of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense System:
1) Strongly urges the meeting of the presidents, prime ministers, or foreign ministers of the five permanent Security Council countries in Washington D.C. to form the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Office that will:
a) meet regularly throughout the year,
b) have member chosen by the five member countries, including the defense minister of each country,
c) discuss the development of the ABM defense system, and having each member state contribute by:
ii) equipment, or
iii) any other thing agreed upon by the members>
d) discuss the deployment of the ABM defense systems
2. Measures to Increase the Security and Stability of the Gulf Region
1) Encourages both Iran and the U.A.E. to continue negotiations on the three islands being disputed on in order to achieve peace in the region;
3. The issue of the Spratley Islands
1) Recognizing the claims already made on various parts of the Spratley Islands by Brunie, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam;
2) Recommends the establishment of the Conference Concerning the Final Status of the Spratley Islands:
a. conference to be held in Paris, France with chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations(ASEAN)acting as the chairperson for the conference,
b. designates all current Security Council countries (France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States of America, Bangladesh, Columbia, Ireland, Jamaica, Mali, Mauritius, Norway, Singapore, Tunisia, and Ukraine) as mediators of the situation,
c. all ASEAN members will attend along with the countries that are involved in the dispute of the Spratley Islands in the Conference Concerning the Final Status of the Sprately Islands,
d. all past and current GA and Security Council Resolutions shall be considered in determining the final status of the Spratley Islands,
e. the UN charter and the international law of the sea shall be considered in determining the final status of the Spratley Islands,
f. conference shall commence at the 23rd of May 2002;
3) Supports the free access of the bodies of water surrounding the Spratley Islands:
a. military operations in this area shall not obstruct trade routes,
exploration and commercial use of the sea
Ladies and Gentlemen, most distinguished delegates, and honorable judge, Bonjour.
For more than 50 years, this place has served as one of our worldís premier centers for making the world safer and more secure. Today, we must carry on this proud tradition and principal forward, continuing to negotiate and make the world safer.
I want us to go back some 30 years to a far different time in a far different world. The Soviet Union and the U.S.A. were unquestioned enemies. Their deep differences were expressed in a dangerous military confrontation that resulted in thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other on hair-trigger alert. Security of the world was based on a grim premise: that neither side would fire nuclear weapons at each other, because doing so would mean the end of both nations. They even signed, in May 1972, an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Today, the sun comes up on a vastly different world. The Wall is gone, and so is the Soviet Union. Todayís Russia is not the U.S.ís enemy. Yet, there is still danger. More nations have nuclear weapons. Some already have developed the ballistic missile technology that would allow them to deliver weapons of mass destruction at long distances and at incredible speeds. Most troubling of all, the list of these countries includes some of the world's least-responsible states; states for whom terror and blackmail are a way of life.
Today's world requires a new policy. We must work together to protect ourselves and citizens. To do so, we must move beyond the constraints of the 30 year old ABM Treaty that was based on distrust. This new cooperative relationship should look to the future, not to the past. It should allow us to share information so that each nation can improve its early warning capability, and its capability to defend its people and territory. Then perhaps, one day we will cooperate in a joint defense effort.
Abdullah Al-Asousi (France)