Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, October 17, 2007)

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


SERBIA/FRANCE

Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic of Serbia will be received by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner tomorrow at 11 a.m.

The two ministers will discuss the current negotiations on the stabilization and association agreement between Serbia and the European Union and other questions relating to Serbia’s prospects with the EU, in particular cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

They will also talk about the current discussions being mediated by the troika on the future status of Kosovo.

Lastly, on the bilateral front, the minister will discuss with his Serb counterpart the promising prospects for developing economic relations between our two countries.

There will be a briefing after the meeting.

(…)

UN SECURITY COUNCIL

France congratulates Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam on their election to the Security Council for the years 2008 and 2009.

Q - What is your reaction to the UN General Assembly’s election of Libya as a non-permanent member of the Security Council?

I refer you to my statement on the election of the new, on-permanent members of the Security council.

HAITI/MINUSTAH

We welcome the unanimous adoption on October 15 of resolution 1780 renewing the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for another year.

This force, over 9,000 strong, has played a vital role in the stabilization of Haiti since 2004. It made it possible to hold free elections and contributes to the establishment of the rule of law, to strengthening the police and the administration of justice.

The action of MINUSTAH has also improved the security situation. We support the strengthening of its border-control mission decided by the Security Council so as to deal more effectively with drugs smuggling.

WORLD ANTI-POVERTY DAY

France is joining in the world day against poverty co-organized by the UN and ATD Fourth World, whose 20th anniversary we celebrate today.

France, which actively participates in the actions of international organizations to combat poverty, has presented the question of extreme poverty at the United Nations, thereby pursuing the actions undertaken by Father Wresinski.

Extreme poverty prevents the most vulnerable from enjoying their fundamental rights. It constitutes an inadmissible attack on the dignity of the human person. It should be tackled by making effective the existing rights which every human being should be able to enjoy.

It is in this spirit that we support, in liaison with ATD Fourth World, the emergence of guiding principles on extreme poverty in the Human Rights Council and that we shall be asking for the renewal of the mandate of the UN independent expert on human rights and extreme poverty.

France will spare no effort to ensure that further progress in the fight against poverty is achieved within the multilateral forums.

KOSOVO

Q - Can you confirm that the minister has invited the Kosovar negotiators to Paris on Sunday to ask them to refrain from taking unilateral measures that have not been coordinated with the West?

The minister is due to have an informal meeting with the Kosovar negotiating team on October 21 before they go on to Vienna the next day. The meeting, which will be given over to the status of the EU-mediated discussions, will be followed by press briefing at 2:30 p.m.

MIDDLE EAST

Q - What is the French reaction to the prisoner swap between Israel and Hezbollah? Are you in favor of this process continuing so as to include the release of the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah last year and the Lebanese citizens who are still held by Israel?

This is a positive sign. We welcome the role of the international committee of the Red Cross and hope that the exchange will help to ease tensions between Israel and Lebanon and improve the climate in the region.

We continue to call on Hezbollah to release immediately the Israeli soldiers kidnapped in southern Lebanon and we encourage all initiatives aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel, in accordance with the demands made by the UN Security Council in resolution 1701./.

Embassy of France, October 17, 2007