Daily Press Briefing
Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(Paris, November 14, 2007)
[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]
France was shocked to learn of the attack yesterday at the Philippine Parliament which killed several people.
It strongly condemns this unacceptable attack on the Philippine national representation and through this body on democratic values.
France offers its condolences to the victims’ families and friends, and to the Philippine president, government and legislators.
We’ve just learned the speaker of the Georgian parliament has announced the state of emergency will be lifted shortly. This measure, if confirmed, would go in the right direction. It is important that the conditions for a democratic election are re-established, specifically through the reopening of opposition media.
Q - Do you plan to step up security advisories for French people in Chad in the wake of today’s demonstrations in N’djamena and the aftermath of the Zoë’s Ark affair?
We are following the situation closely and are in permanent contact with the Chadian authorities responsible for maintaining law and order. Our embassy has urged French nationals to show renewed prudence in moving around N’djamena. It’s also recommended that they avoid going to neighborhoods away from the center of the capital.
Q - Do you have any comment on Mr. Breteau’s letter published in Le Canard Enchaîné in which he says he wants to collaborate discreetly with the Ministry on his association’s projects to evacuate children.
When the Zoë’s Ark association came to the Foreign Ministry to present its plan for adopting orphans in Darfur, we told its officials that we had very serious reservations and we contacted the Paris prosecutor about it on July 9.
When the association persisted in its intentions, its president was summoned by Rama Yade’s chief of staff on July 31 who renewed the Ministry’s warnings. At no time did the association inform us of what it was preparing in Chad.
Q - Mr. Kouchner mentioned two dates for his return to Lebanon, Monday the 19th and Wednesday the 21st. Could you give us the date and tell us if he’s going with the two other European ministers?
The minister said he would return to Lebanon next week, but it’s not possible yet to state the exact day for the trip.
Q - The minister has said he’s committed to democracy in Lebanon, and the process he’s proposed is based on selection, so what is this democracy he wants? Is it consistent with real democracy?
The minister’s approach aims to draw the various parties together so as to bring about the election of a president who has broad support, in accordance with the rules of democracy in Lebanon.
Q - Now that Bernard Kouchner has returned to Paris and the list of candidates for the Lebanese presidential election is in Patriarch Sfeir’s hands, what’s the next step in the process French diplomats have started to get an election on time?
The minister answered this question in detail at his press briefing in Beirut yesterday. As he said, he will return to Lebanon next week to pursue his contacts while our embassy for its part will continue to follow the development of the situation with the utmost attention.
Q - Mr. Bockel is making a working visit to Angola Wednesday and Thursday. What are the main questions he’ll be discussing with the Angolans? Is he going to take advantage of the trip to prepare for President Sarkozy’s expected visit to Angola in January, after meeting in New York with his counterpart, Dos Santos, in September?
Cooperation and Francophony Secretary Jean-Marie Bockel will actually be in Angola tomorrow and Friday. The purpose is to re-launch our bilateral cooperation and discuss the situation the region.
The visit will afford an opportunity to prepare for the president’s forthcoming visit to Angola.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Q - There seems to be no prospect of a solution shaping up with regard to the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is continuing to deteriorate on the humanitarian level. Can we expect a French initiative to unblock the situation in liaison with the African Union, the European Union and/or the United Nations?
An agreement was signed in Nairobi on November 9 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda on disarming and demobilizing the armed groups operating in the eastern part of the DRC. We remain very concerned about the humanitarian situation in North Kivu, and we are encouraging the Congolese and Rwandan governments to do everything possible to carry out the commitments they made in Nairobi. France fully supports the action of MONUC (United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the humanitarian actors in the field. It is determined to pursue its commitment to assist the efforts of the Congolese and Rwandan governments.
Q - How do you view the agreement signed in Ankara yesterday by Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian Authority for the construction of a joint industrial zone in the West Bank?
We don’t have details of the agreement. In general we welcome the implementation of joint projects which contribute to economic development and at the same time promote closer ties between peoples. We also hope that this initiative will lead to greater freedom of movement.
Embassy of France, November 14, 2007