Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, July 9, 2007)

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


IRAQ

France condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack again on the Iraqi civilian population in the village of Ermeli, near Kirkuk, which killed over 150 people.

In the past two days, at least 220 Iraqi civilians have died. France condemns these unspeakable acts that continue to stain Iraq in blood.

It offers its condolences to the victims’ families and friends and to the Iraq authorities, and assures them of its sadness and profound compassion.

Once again it urges all Iraqis to unite to reject violence and find the ways to reconciliation, peace and security.

Q - According to UNHCR, Syria and Jordan, which have the largest numbers of Iraqi refugees (two million), have still not received the international bilateral aid promised by the governments that took part in the conference on displacement in Iraq which the UNHCR held in Geneva in April. What is France’s position with regard to this question?

At the international conference on refugees and displaced persons in Iraq, which was held in Geneva on April 17, 2007, France granted UNHCR a million euros of which half is destined for displaced Iraqis within Iraq and the other half for the reception of Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan.

That contribution was paid to UNHCR in April 2007.

EUROPEAN UNION

European Affairs Secretary Jean-Pierre Jouyet is in Strasbourg on July 9 and 10.

He will be meeting with European Parliament Speaker Hans-Gert Pottering and having talks with French members of the European Parliament.

He will brief the French MEPs on the results of the European Council and preside at a thematic luncheon on energy and the environment.

With his visit to the European Parliament, Jean-Pierre Jouyet is continuing the meetings he has had since the last European Council to present the conclusions, the timetable for implementation and also to outline the priorities of our presidency in the second half of 2008.

The European affairs secretary has met or will be meeting with national lawmakers, representatives of European institutions, the economic and financial community (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Banking Federation, the French Banking Federation, the European Business Federation, MEDEF, the European Trade Union Confederation, the Permanent Assembly of Chambers of Agriculture, the Permanent Assembly of the Craft Chambers, the Federation of Commerce and Distribution, Paris-Europlace, etc.,) and related associations (as part of an information meeting with the many French associations involved in Europe).

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD

Q - Do you have any comment on the “seven wonders of the world” contest which hasn’t selected any site in France?

It’s a private initiative that sought the opinions of Web users who wished to vote.

With regard to the sites selected, France shares the concept of UNESCO, which has 851 sites on its World Heritage list, 31 of which are in France. These sites include not only monuments but also whole areas that are much bigger such as town centers, landscapes shaped by people and natural settings./.

Embassy of France, July 9, 2007