Macron defends Iran deal, Paris climate accord at UN General Assembly

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3 min

French President Emmanuel Macron hit back at US President Donald Trump on Tuesday by staunchly defending the Iran nuclear deal at the UN General Assembly, speaking soon after Trump called the deal an "embarrassment to the United States".


“Renouncing it would be a grave error, not respecting it would be irresponsible, because it is a good accord that is essential to peace at a time where the risk of an infernal conflagration cannot be excluded,” Macron said.

The French president added that he had made his position clear to both Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when he met with them on Monday.

Whereas Trump levelled some of his most bellicose rhetoric at North Korea, threatening to "totally destroy" the country should it threaten the United States or its allies, Macron struck a more conciliatory note, saying France would not close the door to negotiations over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Macron also told the United Nations that the Paris climate deal would not be renegotiated but said "the door will be open" for the United States to return to the agreement if it so wishes.

"This agreement will not be renegotiated," Macron said in his maiden speech to the General Assembly. "We will not retreat."

Macron noted that the international community had so far fallen short of successfully addressing major threats such as climate change. Now more than ever before, we need common efforts to tackle environmental challenges and other global issues, Macron said, including war and terrorism.

"We can only address those challenges through multilateralism, not through survival of the fittest."

Gerald Olivier of Atlantico.fr speaks to FRANCE 24

The military campaign in Burma that has driven some 400,000 Rohingya Muslims from the country also elicited some strong words from Macron, who joined earlier statements by the UN human rights chief in describing the Rohingyas' plight as ethnic cleansing.

"The military operation must stop, humanitarian access must be guaranteed and the rule of law restored in the face of what we know is ethnic cleansing," Macron told the delegates.

As for the intractable conflict in Syria, Macron proposed forming a "contact group" to help end the six-year war.

Macron said that talks so far led by Russia, Iran and Turkey "were not enough" and called for a new multilateral diplomatic effort.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP and AFP)

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