Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, August 16, 2007)

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


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

“On August 14, the Iraqi people were hit by a new series of particularly heinous attacks in Nineveh province. More than 200 Iraqi civilians perished in those attacks.

France most vigorously condemns these barbarous attacks, which are continuing to shed Iraqi blood and striking all the diverse segments of the country’s population.

It assures the families of the victims and all Iraqis of its deepest sorrow and sympathy, and urges all of its communities not to succumb to the temptations of hatred.

It calls on all Iraqis to join together to reject violence and re-embark on the paths of national reconciliation, peace and unity.”


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

“I was distressed to learn of the death of three members of the German diplomatic mission in Kabul this morning following an attack on their vehicle.

France most firmly condemns this attack.

I would like to express my condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones, and to the German authorities, to whom I want to convey my deepest sympathy at this difficult time.

On behalf of France, I want to convey to President Karzai and to the Afghan authorities a message of solidarity and support in the face of this unacceptable manifestation of intolerance and violence.”


Let me read you a statement by Foreign Minister Kouchner:

“I was deeply distressed and saddened to learn that a terrible earthquake had struck Peru, leaving many victims.

The French government expresses its deep sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones, who have been plunged into mourning by this terrible event.”



The 12th international conference of the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (AITVM) is being held in France for the first time, from August 20-22.

The Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherché Agronomique pour le Développement (“Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development” - CIRAD) is coordinating and hosting this conference with the support of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Regional Council of Languedoc-Roussillon, the General Council of Hérault, the Centre Technique de Coopération Agricole et Rurale (“Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation” - CTA) and private companies (Ceva Santé animale, Merial, Institut Pourquier).

The AITVM is an umbrella organization comprising some 20 teaching and research institutions on veterinary medicine.

This conference will deal with new challenges raised by infectious animal diseases. Indeed, in recent years we have seen an increase in animal diseases, including avian flu. The scientific program will focus on the following topics: oversight and epidemiology, new vaccines, and veterinary services in a global scenario.

Two hundred experts from 47 countries will attend this conference.


Q - Israel and the United States were supposed to sign a protocol agreement on a nearly 25 percent increase in U.S. military aid to the Jewish State, to reach $30 billion in 10 years. Do you think that will help bring peace to the Mideast? What’s your position?

I have no comment on bilateral agreements between sovereign states.

We regularly repeat that in our view, the region’s stabilization, without underestimating the need for countries’ security, will be based on a political and diplomatic agreement within the framework of the Mideast peace process.

Q - President Mahmoud Abbas’s office acknowledged the existence of a bill that could exclude Hamas from future elections in the Palestinian Territories. Could France support such a bill?

It’s not up to me to comment on this bill as it was reported in the press, and whose content I am not familiar with.

As for the calling of early elections, that’s a sovereign decision by the president of the Palestinian Authority and it’s not up to us to comment on that. Generally speaking, we’ve always affirmed our attachment to respect for the law, public order and the preservation of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority and democratic principles.


Q - What summation would you make a year after the cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel? Do you think the cease-fire is still very far off?

I’m not sure the word summation is the right one. The diplomatic activity conducted by the international community and France is part of a continuous process.

The UN Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1701 permitted these essential things: the end of hostilities and the creation of conditions for maintaining a cease-fire; significant progress with respect to security in southern Lebanon with the redeployment of the Lebanese army and the reinforcement of UNIFIL’s mandate; and the establishment of a path toward a long-term solution, identifying the main elements of that solution.

On all these points, I refer you to the UN Secretary-General’s report of last June on the follow-up to SCR 1701 and the August 3 Security Council presidential declaration.

Naturally, a lot remains to be done to implement this resolution in its entirety, notably the release of Israeli soldiers and Lebanese prisoners, the strict respect for the arms embargo, a halt to Israeli flyovers, and the resolution of the Shebaa Farms issue.

Furthermore, you are aware of the efforts we have made to facilitate the dialogue among all the Lebanese parties at Mr. Kouchner’s behest and following the Celle Saint-Cloud meeting—efforts that we intend to pursue further./.

Embassy of France, August 16, 2007