Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, April 12, 2007)

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


UNITAID/ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK

On April 12, Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy, the president of UNITAID, and Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), signed a framework cooperation agreement between UNITAID and the IDB.

This agreement comes in the context of a long-term partnership between the IDB and UNITAID. During an initial period, the bank had already approved, in the framework of its partnership with UNITAID, a program amounting to $20 million for 2007-2008, i.e., $10 million per year, allowing UNITAID to provide artemisin-based combination therapies (ACT) to treat malaria in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia: Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Indonesia.

This contribution, which makes the IDB one of UNITAID’s privileged partners, is part of a broader program of development and fighting poverty linked to the upcoming creation of a special fund to fight poverty. Beyond the $20 million for purchasing medications, the IDB also approved $30 million for 2007-2008 for other aspects of the battle against malaria.

Thanks to economies of scale, UNITAID’s intervention will help obtain the best prices on the market, with the aim of increasing access to ACT at prices that are affordable for the largest number of people.

Malaria is one of the deadliest scourges in developing countries; between 350 and 600 million people contract the disease each year and one to three million die of it. Fifty-seven percent of the people affected are in Africa, where 80 percent of malaria-related deaths occur. While the disease is becoming increasingly resistant to traditional treatments, artemisin-based combination therapies—although more costly—are effective in 95 percent of the cases.

This partnership supplements UNITAID’s current efforts to fight malaria, particularly in conjunction with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is slated to provide more than 50 million treatments in 12 African countries by 2010, as well as in Burundi and Liberia in 2007, for a total of nearly 1.5 million treatments. Finally, as part of the Global Fund’s Round 6, UNITAID is also providing $19 million for 2007-2008 to about 10 African and Asian countries.

This effort will complement that of other international donors. The agreement provides for extending the two institutions’ collaboration to other epidemics covered by UNITAID, e.g. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

The agreement will enter into force after its approval by UNITAID’s board of directors.

MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR)

On April 12 and 13, the Foreign Ministry will host the 12th meeting of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which will celebrate its 20th anniversary on this occasion.

In order to combat the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and to coordinate on the principles to be adopted to limit the export of ballistic technologies and equipment, France, the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan established the MTCR on April 16, 1987. Over the years, the number of partners has increased to 34. France is the permanent “Point of Contact.” The rotating chairmanship is currently held by Denmark.

The MTCR is based on the unilateral adoption by each partner of identical guidelines on the fight against ballistic proliferation. The MTCR guidelines specify the modalities according to which each government examines requests for transfers of goods and technologies liable to contribute to the fabrication of missiles delivering weapons of mass destruction (ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones).

MTCR guidelines reject any transfer of category I vectors, items exceeding a 300 km/500 kg range/payload threshold. The MTCR is also a forum for exchanging information among members on regional issues, missile programs of concern in the world, and the fight against export control fraud.

On this 20th anniversary, France would like to reaffirm the importance of the role played by the MTCR and calls on all interested nations to voluntarily adhere to the Regime’s guidelines.

IRAN

Q - Can you confirm that French researcher Stéphane Dudoignon, who was held against his will in Iran, has gotten his passport back, has an exit visa and should arrive back in France on Friday?

Let me read you a statement by Mr. Douste-Blazy:

“I was pleased to learn that the Iranian authorities have found a solution to Mr. Dudoignon’s situation. His passport and personal effects have been returned to him. The visa in his passport will allow him to leave Iran within the next few days, as he wished.”/.

Embassy of France, April 12, 2007