French Senate backs Taiwan's bid for wider international participation

05/07/2021 02:34 PM
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The French Senate. CNA photo May 6, 2021
The French Senate. CNA photo May 6, 2021

Paris, May 6 (CNA) The French Senate on Thursday adopted a resolution to support Taiwan's participation in the activities of international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

The resolution, put forth March 27 by the Senate's French-Taiwan Friendship Group, was passed with vote of 304-0 and 19 abstentions.

Chairman of the group Alain Richard said during the presentation of the proposal that Taiwan's bid to participate in the WHO should be supported, in light of its outstanding efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan should also be supported in its bid to take part in other international organizations and treaties such as the International Criminal Police Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Richard said.

During a 30-minute debate on the resolution, representatives of nine political caucuses expressed their opinions, while one caucus abstained, citing its foreign relations stance.

Commenting on the Senate's passage of the resolution, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, secretary of state at France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said the government supports Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is important to the people of the world, he said.

André Gattolin, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces, said in an interview with CNA that the vote on the resolution indicated bipartisan support for Taiwan in the Senate.

Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam of the Republican Party told CNA the resolution sends a signal to Beijing that Taiwan is not alone and has the support of many western countries.

Taiwan's representative to France Francois Wu (吳志中), who was observing the voting in the public area with his colleagues, said in a Facebook post that they could not hold back their tears when they saw the overwhelming support in the French Senate.

In an interview with CNA, Wu expressed thanks to the senators for adopting the resolution and said the results of the vote meant a lot to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, in Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a statement welcoming the French Senate's decision.

MOFA said Taiwan will continue to work with like-minded countries, including France, to deepen their cooperation and to advance Taiwan's efforts to contribute to the international community under the slogan "Taiwan can help, let Taiwan help."

Also commenting on the French Senate's resolution, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said it showed that Taiwan's successful fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, using a democratic approach, is highly regarded in the international community.

The resolution was passed ahead of the 74th annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO, which is scheduled to be held virtually May 24-June 1.

On Thursday, the G7 countries issued a communique that included a statement of support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA and WHO forums.

Taiwan, whose formal designation is the Republic of China, lost its seat in the United Nations to the People's Republic of China in 1971 and was subsequently stripped of its membership in all U.N. agencies.

(By Tseng Ting-hsuan and Emerson Lim)

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