Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, February 14, 2007)

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


ALGERIA

Q - Any comment after the attacks in Algeria?

We strongly condemn the seven attacks which targeted representatives of the forces of order in Algeria yesterday.

We offer our most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these unjustifiable acts and our best wishes for the recovery of the injured.

We stand by Algeria in its fight against terrorism.

LEBANON

Q - Does France fear attacks by al Qaeda against UNIFIL forces in Lebanon after the message from the second-in-command in al Qaeda, Ayman el Zawahri, calling on Lebanese Muslims not to accept the presence of international and crusader forces in southern Lebanon?

UNIFIL is performing its mission in the context of the mandate assigned it in resolution 1701.

It takes all necessary measures to ensure its protection in a permanent way and to confront every kind of threat.

MIDDLE EAST

Q - What are France’s expectations ahead of the summit between Mr. Olmert, Mr. Abbas and Ms Rice on February 19? Are there prospects for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations?

We hope that the meeting, which is being held in a new context--after the meeting of the Quartet in Washington on February 2 and the signing of the Mecca agreement on February 8--will facilitate a high-level constructive dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis, address substantive questions relating to the settlement of the conflict by defining a political horizon, and reinforce the authority of the Palestinian president.

We hope that the Israeli authorities will take this opportunity to implement the measures (releasing taxes levied by Israel for the Palestinian Authority, permanently opening the Rafah terminal, lifting controls at certain crossings in the West bank and releasing Palestinian prisoners) announced by Mr. Olmert at his previous meeting with Mahmoud Abbas on December 23.

SYRIA/IRAQ

Q - Could you give us any details about the two French nationals trying to enter Iraq who were repatriated by Syria?

This matter is sub judice. Consequently I’ve no comment and refer you to the Ministry of Justice for more information./.

Embassy of France, February 14, 2007