00:13 GMT28 January 2021
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    France is willing to welcome all the people who need political asylum, but refugees should not make this demand if their real motivations are economic, Joachim Son-Forget, the first member of a La Republique en Marche (LREM) party and member of the French Parliament to talk to Sputnik, said in an interview.

    "I should have probably asked for authorization," Son-Forget says with more than a touch of irony. He is the first member of French President Emmanuel Macron's Republique en Marche party to agree to give an interview to Sputnik News.

    Son-Forget underscored the government’s position about refugees, explaining that France is still open for asylum seekers, but only if their distress is genuine and not economically motivated. 

    "We are still willing to welcome everyone that needs political asylum; however, we should not grant it to people who come and ask for political asylum while motivated economically," Son-Forget said.

    He replied when asked his position about the fact that Albanians are, according to 2017 statistics, the first nationality to apply for political asylum.

    "At the moment, the migration of Albanians is a large phenomenon and one of the most significant elements of economic migration in France," said Son-Forget, who speaks Albanian and has compiled reports on Albania and Kosovo for the French Foreign Ministry. "The governments of the two countries [Albania and France] are in dialogue on this issue."

    The situation in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 amid continuing tensions between Serb and Albanian communities, should not be seen "through the prism of Kosovar Albanians and Kosovar Serbs alone," the lawmaker said. "That would be incorrect and that might spark the further escalation."

    "Explaining what happened only through ethnic conflict may have a harmful effect on a country that should remain multicultural, even if the Albanians make up a majority," Son-Forget said.

    "It might be that the justice is a bit too slow. Some people find it biased, in a good way. But, if we took democratic commitments upon ourselves […] we must continue to talk to each other, must take part in the same processes and make sure international justice can be more objective."

    In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo migrants gather near a fence in Calais, northern France.
    © AP Photo / Matt Dunham
    In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo migrants gather near a fence in Calais, northern France.

    He also commented on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

    "One can only welcome the beginning of a dialogue between the two Koreas," Son-Forget said.

    "[The situation in North Korea] is a rather complicated international relations issue: on one hand, one must continue to demand compliance with nonproliferation rules, but on the other hand — it is really desirable to ease the tensions on the peninsula," he said.

    "After the [2018 Winter] Olympics, the sanctions against North Korea will still be in place. They remain in place because there is a threat of continuation of [their] ballistic missile and nuclear programs, which worries the permanent members of the UN Security Council."

    As the French government claims to do regarding international affairs, Son-Forget said that he makes a point of talking to anyone and everyone in his political life and explained that building bridges and encouraging dialogue meant for him being consistent. 

    In this regard, his vision apparently differs from Emmanuel Macron’s, since the French President has publicly denounced Sputnik and RT, accusing them of propaganda. Both outlets were barred from having access to candidate Macron over allegations of spreading fake news. Margarita Simonyan, RT's and Sputnik's editor-in-chief, denounced that decision as an attack on the freedom of speech. Son-Forget just made the first step towards a dialogue between Sputnik and En Marche! 

    The opinions expressed in the article are those of speaker alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik News.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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