Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, August 14, 2007)

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


AFGHANISTAN/SOUTH KOREA

Let me read you Foreign Minister Kouchner’s statement from yesterday:

“I have learned that two South Korean hostages held in Afghanistan by the Taliban for more than three weeks have been released today.

I salute this gesture. All my thoughts go out to the other 19 South Korean hostages who are still being held and to their families, as well as to the families of the two South Korean hostages who were killed by the Taliban during their detention.

I renew my call for the immediate release of all the hostages and the cessation of the inhumane and unacceptable practice of hostage-taking.”

(…)

AMBASSADORS CONFERENCE

Q - Can you give us a few details on the annual meeting of ambassadors, the date and topics?

We will give a formal, detailed presentation of the program of the Ambassadors Conference next week.

As for the dates of this 15th conference, it will run from August 27 to 30.

(…)

MIDEAST

Q - What’s your reaction to the Israeli raid on Khan Younes that led to the death of four Palestinians, including civilians?

We deplore the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip.

We call on the Israeli authorities to exercise the maximum restraint in order to avoid fueling the cycle of violence. I want to reiterate our constant condemnation of the practice of extra judicial executions, which are contrary to international law.

We also call for a complete halt to the violence and for the Palestinian factions to respect the cease-fire, notably by ending rocket launches against Israeli territory.

CHAD

Q - What’s your assessment of the political agreement signed in Chad on August 13?

France hails yesterday’s signature, in N’Djamena, of a comprehensive political agreement aimed at strengthening the democratic process in Chad. France joins fully in the European Presidency’s statement on this subject.

Signed by the 17 parties that represent Chad’s political scene, whether they belong to the presidential majority or to the institutional opposition, this major agreement is the result of an in-depth dialogue held for eight months with the constant backing of the EU, which France salutes for its mobilization on this issue.

France hopes that as a result of the implementation of this agreement by all of Chad’s political players, the country will be able to enjoy the fruits of economic growth in a peaceful and democratic climate.

SIERRA LEONE

Q - Do you have any comment on the elections in Sierra Leone?

France closely followed the August 11 presidential and legislative elections held in Sierra Leone with the backing, notably, of the EU and the UN.

We are delighted with the high voter turnout for this election, which took place in a calm atmosphere, as confirmed by national and international election observers on the ground.

As we await the official results of this first round of balloting, France urgently invites all Sierra Leonians, all the parties and all the candidates in contention, to continue to demonstrate a spirit of tolerance and openness and to eschew any attitude or statement that could undermine the continuation and proper conclusion of the election process under way./.

Embassy of France, August 14, 2007