Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, August 10, 2007)

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


IRAQ

Q - What’s your point of view on the draft resolution recently presented in the Security Council by the US and Britain on consolidating the role of the UN in Iraq?

You’re referring, I suppose, to the draft resolution renewing the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for one year.

The text is still being examined in the United Nations Security Council. It is expected to be put to the vote today in New York.

France is in favor of strengthening the role of the United Nations in Iraq. This will have to take into account the constraints linked to the context on the ground and the need to ensure the security of United Nations personnel on the spot.

Close cooperation between the Iraqi authorities and the United Nations also seems to us an essential element so as to give Iraq a chance to find the path to unity and reconciliation.

Q - Did France take part in the meeting in Damascus on security in Iraq? If so, at what level and if possible what’s the name of the representative? And your assessment of the results of the meeting?

You’re referring to the meeting which has just been held in Damascus, which is the first meeting of the working group of countries neighboring Iraq, established at Sharm el-Sheik on May 4.

France was invited to attend the meeting as an observer on one hand in its capacity as the local president of the European Union and also as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The meeting has just ended. I will let you know the conclusions and results in due course.

LIBYA

Q - The five Bulgarian nurses and the doctor who were released on July 24 after being imprisoned in Libya for eight years testified Friday about being tortured in Libya. For his part, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Saif al-Islam, admitted that there was torture via electric shock. What’s your reaction?

In general you know our constant position of principle on such practices. France is party to the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. No circumstance justifies the use of torture./.

Embassy of France, August 10, 2007