French foreign ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre spoke to FRANCE 24 on Wednesday on issues ranging from the jailing of a Frenchman in Iran on spying charges to a coup this week in Burkina Faso and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The "Normandy Format" talks in Paris on Ukraine sent an "important signal” on Wednesday, Legendre said. The eight-hour talks “managed to agree on several points”, including that the 2015 Minsk Agreement is still relevant to the outstanding issues and that a ceasefire in east Ukraine should be respected by all sides.
A second meeting is planned for Berlin in two weeks, she noted, possibly offering a path towards “the de-escalation that we are all looking for”.
Legendre reiterated that Russia would face serious consequences for any aggression against Ukraine.
“We have been very clear and very unanimous [within] the European Union but also with our allies in NATO … that there would be massive consequences and a very heavy price to pay for Russia if they were to take any action against Ukrainian [territorial] integrity.”
Asked about a military coup in Burkina Faso this week, Legendre said Paris stood firm in calling for the release of deposed president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and a “return to constitutional order”.
The case of Benjamin Brière also caused a diplomatic crisis this week when reports surfaced that Iran had sentenced the Frenchman to eight years on spying charges.
“We are in very close touch with the family, we have been in touch with them from the beginning,” Legendre said, adding that Brière's conviction on spying charges for taking photos was absolutely groundless and “completely unacceptable”.
Click on the video player above to watch the full interview.