Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(excerpts)

(Paris, October 1, 2007)

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


SUDAN/DARFUR

I will read the statement the minister issued Sunday, September 30:

“France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack yesterday, Saturday, September 29, on the African Mission (AMIS) camp at Haskanita, in Darfur, in which the victims were African Union soldiers.

“In the wake of this deadly and unacceptable attack, it offers its sincerest condolences to the victims’ families and friends, to their country and the African Union authorities.

“France reaffirms its confidence in and support for the African Union in the difficult task it is currently undertaking in Darfur on behalf of the international community.

“It calls on the parties to the conflict to show restraint with a view to the forthcoming start of negotiations in Tripoli in October and the coming deployment of the hybrid force in Darfur under UNSCR 1769.

“The international community must make every effort to ensure that the perpetrators of this act do not go unpunished.”

Q - What’s your assessment of the situation in Darfur after the attack against AMIS yesterday? Are you worried the event might have negative repercussions on the negotiations in Tripoli in October between the Sudanese parties and the coming deployment of the hybrid force in Darfur?

With regard to your first question, I refer you to the minister’s statement on Sunday, September 30, which came at the beginning of this briefing.

As for your second question, we call on all the parties concerned to cease hostilities and take part in the discussions sponsored by the African Union and UN in Tripoli at the end of October.

AFGHANISTAN

I will read the communiqué issued on Saturday, September 29:

“France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack in Kabul today on an Afghan national army convoy which killed and injured dozens of civilians and soldiers.

“France offers its condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

“It assures President Karzai and the Afghan authorities of France’s solidarity at this terrible time and its support in the continued efforts to build the rule of law in Afghanistan.”

Q - The Taliban yesterday rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s latest offer of negotiations, maintaining their demand that the 50,000 foreign soldiers in the country leave. Do you think dialogue with the Taliban is the right way to achieve peace in Afghanistan?

France has always advocated reconciliation among all Afghans but recalls the need for all to recognize the constitutional order and democratic values of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

MS YADE’S VISIT TO THE UN

Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, will be in New York for the UN General Assembly from Sunday, September 30, to Tuesday, October 2, 2007.

Today Ms Yade will chair, with UNICEF, a conference on children in armed conflict. The meeting shows France’s commitment to the issue of child soldiers eight months after France hosted the international “Free Children from War” conference co-organized with UNICEF. The aim of the meeting in New York is to keep up the mobilization, pursue efforts and obtain new commitments in the fight to eradicate this scourge.

Ms Yade will also chair a meeting of the Security Council in the “Arria” format (meeting open to outside participants) on the situation of women in armed conflict in Africa as women’s rights are one of the priorities of her human rights action. She will represent France at the meeting on the community of democracies.

The secretary of state will also deposit the instrument of ratification of the second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights aiming to abolish the death penalty.

The program will also include bilateral meetings, in particular with Ms Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for children and conflict, and Mr. Gambari, the secretary-general’s special representative for Myanmar, if he is back from his mission to Rangoon.

Mr. JOUYET AT COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet will be in Strasbourg on October 2 for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The PACE holds sessions four times a year for national lawmakers from Council of Europe member states.

Jean-Pierre Jouyet will have a working luncheon with the French parliamentary delegation. He will also have talks with René Van der Linder, president of the PACE, Terry Davis, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, and Jean-Paul Costa, president of the European Court of Human Rights.

MYANMAR

We remain very concerned about the news of the continued crackdown in Myanmar. We again ask the Myanmar authorities to release all persons imprisoned for trying to exercise their fundamental freedoms.

We wish to assist the people of Myanmar in their struggle for the re-establishment of democracy. To this end we have proposed to our European partners tougher sanctions against the junta in Myanmar and are working on this.

We also call for complete respect for freedom of the press in this country. We were very shocked by the death of Japanese journalist Nagai Kenji.

The arrests, attacks and all other forms of intimidation of journalists must stop immediately.

(…)

RWANDA

Q - Can you confirm the presence in mid-September of a French diplomatic mission to Kigali tasked with examining normalization with Rwanda?

As the minister has said, we wish to move quickly towards the resumption of diplomatic relation which Rwanda broke off in November 2006. In this context, exploratory contacts are continuing.

(…)./.

Embassy of France, October 1, 2007