Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, May 7, 2007)

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


I will read a statement from Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy:

‘Since the abduction of members of the Terre d’Enfance association on April 3, the French authorities have been permanently mobilized in Paris and Kabul to obtain the release of these hostages expeditiously as possible. They have done so in constant liaison with the Afghan authorities, officials from the association and the hostages’ families.

After the release of one of the hostages on April 28, the French authorities welcomed this outcome. They did not relax their efforts but on the contrary redoubled them. In this context they stepped up all useful and possible contacts, and are continuing to do so with the same determination. The objective remains the same: to bring the hostages home safe and sound as quickly as possible.

Faced with this challenge the French authorities have taken note over the last few days of statements by the Taliban movement spokesman. They do not wish to comment on this matter, recalling that in this affair discretion is essential to the effectiveness of our action.’

Q - Do you have any reaction to the latest extension the Taliban have given the French authorities concerning the hostages in Afghanistan?

I invite you to refer to Philippe Douste-Blazy’s statement which I just read.

Q - The Taliban are now demanding a specific timetable for France to withdraw its troops. Your comment?

As the minister just said, the French authorities have taken note of the statements that have been made and do not wish to comment, recalling that discretion is essential to the effectiveness of our action.


Subject to confirmation by the Constitutional Council, I can confirm the results of the second round of the presidential elections for French residing abroad as conveyed to the Ministry of the Interior and Regional Development.

The number of persons registered was 821,919. The number of voters was 346,310, i.e. twice as many as in 2002 (170,518 in the second round of voting in 2002). Voter turnout was therefore 42.13% as against 44.22% in the second round in 2002. The number of votes was 340,093 (98.20% of votes cast). The breakdown was as follows:

- Segolene Royal: 156,480 (46.01%0;

- Nicolas Sarkozy: 183,613 (53.99%).

You can find these results country by country on the Ministry website: www.diplomatie.gouv.fr


France strongly condemns the attack Sunday on a school run by the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) in Rafah. Nothing can justify this unspeakable act against an institution that works every day side by side with the Palestinian people to ease their suffering, especially in the Gaza Strip.

The security situation in the Gaza Strip is disturbing. We call on the Palestinian government to do everything possible to stop these acts of violence in accordance with the commitments made to the Palestinian population./.

Embassy of France, May 7, 2007