Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, August 1, 2007)

[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]


I would like to read the statement made by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner yesterday:

“The United Nations Security Council has just unanimously adopted the resolution creating UNAMID, the United Nations/African Union Hybrid operation to bring security to Darfur. Once deployed, UNAMID will number 26,000 troops on the ground. It will consequently be the largest current peacekeeping operation in the world.

“This decision is a milestone in the international community’s efforts to end the suffering of the people of Darfur and enduringly restore stability there. It is a source of great hope for Darfur. It is now up to us to make it a reality.

“France has not spared its efforts in the process which led to the Council’s decision. The ministerial meeting of the enlarged Contact Group, on June 25 in Paris, brought an international consensus on the need to speed up deployment of this new peacekeeping force. With the United Kingdom, we jointly prepared the text of this resolution and worked for its early adoption, as President Sarkozy and Mr. Gordon Brown had pledged.

“We quite obviously sought close coordination with all the members of the Security Council and the African Union: my talks with President Konaré on July 26 in Addis Ababa focused on the resolution. We have also ensured contact was maintained with the Sudanese authorities, without undermining the essential objective: the need for a robust mandate geared to protecting the civilians.

“But the adoption of this resolution must not prompt us to slacken our efforts. On the contrary. We must do the utmost to ensure UNAMID's rapid deployment under conditions allowing it to "make the difference" on the ground. This is a tough, difficult task, which will require an unwavering commitment by the international community, in support of the United Nations and the African Union. It will also demand the wholehearted cooperation of all the parties to the crisis, especially the government of Sudan.

“It's also necessary for the political dialogue between all the parties to the conflict, under the United Nations and African Union’s auspices, to find a lasting solution to the crisis. From this point of view, I hope that the Arusha meeting, scheduled for the end of this week, will be an important milestone.

“I want to reiterate the urgency of dealing with the consequences of the Darfur crisis in the region, particularly in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR. I hope that the Security Council and European Union will take the necessary decisions in order to deploy a security presence there.

“Finally, I would like all these measures to create the conditions for an international reconstruction and development effort and enable the return, on a voluntary basis, of the refugees and displaced people.”

Q - The minister said this morning that France had “offered its services” for the peacekeeping force in Darfur, but the Africans want to take care of African affairs. Has France had a response to its offer and now many soldiers did it propose? Will there be an international conference to discuss the question? If so, where and when?

As the minister said this morning, the contingents for UNAMID, the UN/African Union hybrid operation to bring security to Darfur, are to be primarily African, at the request of the Africans. France for its part will examine the possibilities for providing support, specifically logistic support.

As for the deployment of UNAMID, which has just been established by Security Council resolution 1769, it now depends on normal United Nations procedures.


I will read a statement made by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner yesterday:

“I have learned with the deepest concern of the death sentence imposed on two Iranian journalists of Kurdish origin.

“France, being fully committed with its European Union partners to promoting the universal abolition of the death penalty, calls on the Iranian authorities not to carry out this sentence.

“With regard to the journalists, it further calls on Iran to respect freedom of expression and of the press in accordance with its international obligations, specifically article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”


As agreed between Bernard Kouchner and his counterpart from Niger, Aichatou Mindaoudou, at the meeting in which Jean-Marie Bockel participated on July 30, the secretary of state for cooperation and Francophony will go to Niamey on Saturday, August 4, to meet with President Tandja.

He will then go on to Bangui, in the Central African Republic (CAR), where he will have talks with President François Bozizé. They will discuss in particular the issues of regional stability in the wake of the decision a few days ago by the General Affairs/External Relations Council on July 23 concerning planning for a European ESDP operation in eastern Chad and the CAR.


Secretary of State Rama Yade, who reports to the minister of foreign and European affairs and is responsible for foreign affairs and human rights, will make a working visit to the Republic of Moldavia on August 1 and 2. She will be accompanied by Senator Josette Durrier from the Hautes Pyrénées, chair of the France-Moldavia friendship group, and Richard Mallié, deputy from the Bouches-du-Rhône, vice-chair of the National Assembly France-Moldavia friendship group.

On her first bilateral visit, Ms Yade will have talks with Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratan. She will also meet with the Moldavian ministers for justice, home affairs, health, social protection, family and children, and the vice minister for reintegration.

In addition she will have meetings with representatives of organizations involved in the fight against human trafficking. She will visit the rehabilitation center for victims of trafficking and the vacation center of the association Salvati Copii. These meetings with representatives of associations will enable her to assess the efforts being made to promote women’s and children’s rights.


Embassy of France, August 1, 2007