Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, February 8, 2007)

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


Q - Can we have your reaction to Iran’s recent military tests—launching a surface-to-air missile and on Wednesday testing a new Russian air defense system?

The presidency of the European Union commented at the time the contract was announced then when the TOR M1 missiles were delivered by Russia. We regretted the delivery of arms even though it was not incompatible with any of Russia’s international commitments. We thought that it would send Iran a signal on a different wavelength to the messages we are trying to get across to it on the need for a change of attitude on the nuclear problem. The tests these last few days strengthen us in our position.


Q - Israel wants to increase its flights over Lebanon after the exchange of fire Wednesday between the Israeli army and the Lebanese army. Your comment?

We have taken note with the utmost concern of the serious incident that happened yesterday on the Blue Line.

As Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said this morning, we call on the two armies to show the utmost restraint and to refrain from any action that could rekindle tensions on either side of the Blue Line. Our position on the matter of overflights is well-known to the Israeli authorities.


Q - Do you have any information about the abduction of a Frenchman employed by Total in Nigeria?

We confirm that a French national working for a local subcontractor of Total’s Nigerian subsidiary was kidnapped Wednesday evening in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Our embassy in Abuja and our consulate general in Lagos are in permanent contact with Total and the Nigerian authorities in order to obtain our compatriot’s release./.

Embassy of France, February 8, 2007