Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, January 8, 2007)

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


Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy made the following statement yesterday about the release of Jaime Razuri: “I am delighted about Mr. Jaime Razuri’s release and am thanking all those who helped in it.”


Q - Could you brief us on the minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt?

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy went to Riyadh on Saturday, January 6, for talks with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal. On the way back, he stopped off in Cairo in the evening to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit.

The talks focused on the regional issues, specifically the situation in Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian question.

We were able to verify the very broad convergence of views between France and its Saudi and Egyptian partners with regard to the situation in Lebanon. We share the same resolve to further the search for a solution to the political crisis by pursuing the implementation of resolution 1701 and encouraging a dialogue that respects the capacity of the government to govern and the possibility for all Lebanese to obtain justice for the crimes and attacks that have been committed.

The minister discussed the preparation of the Paris III conference. The Saudis and Egyptians expressed their wish to contribute to the success of this conference.

With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian question, the minister and the officials he talked to agreed on the need to move from words to actions by encouraging the Israelis to keep their commitments to President Abbas and pushing the Palestinians to overcome their divisions and join forces in a government with which the international community can work.

With respect to Iraq the minister and his counterparts expressed the same concerns and hope that a truly inclusive political process is established which allows the country to regain its full sovereignty.

Lastly, with regard to Iran the ministers recalled that SCR 1737 had sent a clear message on the nuclear issue: either Iran understands that it must work with the international community by taking up the offer of dialogue, or else it further isolates itself.


Q - A television team has been imprisoned in Lebanon for three weeks. Do you have any comment? Are you calling for their release?

I’ve no information about the imprisonment of a French television team in Lebanon.

If it’s about a Lebanese TV team or another nationality, we would have to know why the team had been arrested before we could make an informed statement.


Q - France proposed an international presence on the Sudanese borders but in a report to the Security Council of December 22, Kofi Annan warned of the risks in deploying a peacekeeping force on the borders of Chad and the Central African Republic in the present context. What’s your reaction?

The report you’re referring to will be discussed in the UN Security Council on Wednesday, January 10.

As far as we are concerned, we remain convinced that an international presence on the borders of Chad and the Central African Republic with Sudan would contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the area, and the settlement of the conflict in Darfur. I would remind you also that Presidents Déby and Bozizé on their side have confirmed their agreement to such an international presence on their borders with Sudan.


Q - The American president is reportedly ready to send more troops to Iraq whereas France is asking for the “prospect of withdrawal.” How does France judge the American initiative?

As you know, the president of the United States is to announce his intention with regard to Iraq in a few days. So it would be premature to make a judgment./.

Embassy of France, January 8, 2007