Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, August 6, 2007)

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


DEATH OF CARDINAL LUSTIGER

I’d like to read the message Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner sent today to Cardinal of Paris Monsignor André Vingt-Trois:

“Monsignor,

“May I express my sorrow at the death of Cardinal Lustiger.

“I used to engage in productive discussions with him. I am aware more than ever of the contribution the Archbishop of Paris made to France’s influence.

“This Frenchman, who was my friend, embodied in the eyes of people in other countries the need for intellectual debate about man and his spiritual destiny which is found so often in our national tradition. He also helped to elucidate the great questions that history and ethics impose on all men.

“In him, France loses one of those great moral figures who shape their image in the eyes of the world.”

“Please accept, Monsignor, my most sincere condolences.”

FRANCE/MOLDAVIA

During her visit to Moldavia on August 2, Rama Yade, Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs responsible for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, met with Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European integration Andrei Stratan. Ms Yade and the Moldavian ministers reaffirmed the high caliber of bilateral relations between the two countries.

The secretary of state confirmed our support for the continuation of reforms in Moldavia in accordance with the action plan signed with the European Union, and our readiness to continue to help the search for a political settlement of the conflict in Transdniestr, in the format of the existing negotiations and with respect for the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. She expressed our interest in deepening the partnership between the European Union and Moldavia in the context of European neighborhood policy, and of strengthening economic relations between Moldavia and France.

The question of human rights was the main focus of Ms Yade’s trip. She was able to appreciate the efforts that have already been made in the fight against human trafficking and for the reintegration of victims during her tour of the rehabilitation center for victims of human trafficking at Chisinau, and the progress that still has to be made. Ms Yade hailed the report of the Moldavian authorities in the implementation of their obligations with regard to the international conventions in this area. She said that France was prepared to offer every assistance to the Moldavian authorities and to associations working in this field.

The secretary of state also raised the question of children’s rights at the vacation center for street children run by the Salvati Copii association in Malovata. Rama Yade talked with leaders of nongovernmental organizations and international institutions active in the fight against human trafficking and the promotion of human rights.

SUDAN/DARFUR

Q - Saturday, Sudan slammed “France’s inability” to persuade Darfur rebel chief Abdelwahid al-Nour, who is living in France, to take part in the talks in Arusha. Khartoum claims that Bernard Kouchner had made “commitments” in that regard on his recent visit to Sudan. Do you confirm this allegation? And in what capacity is Mr. al-Nour staying in France?

France has been very involved for months in the resolution of the Darfur conflict and wishes to see a political agreement as it is convinced that this is the only way to end the crisis. France spared no effort in the process that led to the adoption of resolution 1769 in the UN Security Council on July 31.

From the outset we supported and continue to support the joint AU/UN initiative to revive dialogue among the rebels and begin the political process with the Sudanese authorities. This was the main conclusion at the meeting of the enlarged Contact Group in Paris on June 25.

We are in effect convinced that political dialogue among all the parties to the conflict, under United Nations and African Union auspices, will lead to a lasting solution to the crisis.

In conjunction with the joint UN/AU meditation, we made repeated efforts to convince the founder of the SLM/A and current leader of an SLM faction, Abdel Wahed Mohammed Nour, to take part in the latest meetings in Tripoli and Arusha.

We regret Abdel Wahed Nour’s decision. We will however continue our efforts to bring about the broadest possible rebel participation in political dialogue and in general encourage the peace process in Darfur.

With regard to Mr. Nour’s stay in France, I will look into it and get back to you./.

Embassy of France, August 6, 2007