Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, January 18, 2007)

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


FOREIGN POLICY DEBATE

I will read the communiqué we issued on Monday, January 15:

“At the invitation of associations in the “Banlieues Respect” group, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy will go to Villeneuve-la-Garenne [Hauts-de-Seine] on Thursday, January 18, to take part in a debate on French foreign policy.

The young people present will question the minister about current international events. The topics for discussion will probably be French policy in the Maghreb, the Near and Middle East, particularly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, development issues and the contribution young people of immigrant backgrounds can make to co-development, migration issues, including visas, and the link with development policies, together with the dialogue between cultures.

Mr. Douste-Blazy will present the measures that are to be implemented at his request to promote diversity and equal opportunity in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The debate, the first of its kind in this format and context, will be open to the press and will take place in the Salle des Fêtes, the Cité de la Caravelle, Avenue du 8 mai 19945, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, on Thursday, January 18 at 7 p.m.

(…)

FRANCE/GERMANY

To mark France/Germany Day which commemorates the signing of the Elysée Treaty in 1963, Catherine Colonna, Minister Delegate for European Affairs and secretary-general for German-German cooperation, and her German counterpart, Günter Gloser, will launch the new Franco-German Internet site, france-allemagne.fr (Deutschland-und-frankreich.de) at 3 p.m. at the Quai d’Orsay on Thursday, January 23. The site is designed to be the gateway for reference in Franco-German current events. One of the novelties is the possibility of subscribing to a system of updates on Franco-German current events.

At 3:30 p.m. they will present the report “Integration and Equal Opportunity” with Azouz Begag, Minister Delegate for the Promotion of Equal Opportunity, and Maria Bohmer, his German counterpart. The report presents the first review of actions undertaken in the two countries since March 14, 2006 in Berlin, the date on which the French president and the German chancellor decided to launch a Franco-German initiative on these themes. At 4:30 p.m. Ms Colonna and Mr. Gloser will visit the premises of Rodenstock France, located at 4, Avenue Newton in Montigny-le-Bretonneux. The leader on the German market, the firm specializes in the manufacture of corrective lenses and employs 50 people in France. It is taking part in the internship program launched by the two education ministers last year to promote the learning of German in France and French in Germany. Ms Colonna and Mr. Gloser will talk with high-school students about the advantages of learning German in a work setting. There will be a meeting with the press at 5:15 p.m.

At 5:45 p.m. Ms Colonna and Mr. Gloser will visit the Franco-German lycée at Buc which celebrates its 25th anniversary and where a series of events has been planned for French-German week. The students will comment on their work based on Franco-German themes. The lycée is located on the Rue Colin Mamet in Buc in the Yvelines department.

(…)

IRAN

Q - What’s happening in the debate about sending an envoy to Tehran? There’s talk in the press of it being Jean-Claude Cousseran. Can you confirm this? How do you view the American and Israeli reactions which apparently aren't enthusiastic?

I’ve nothing new to report about possibly sending an envoy.

We’re naturally attentive to the positions of our partners, particularly the countries in the region.

As we’ve already said, we are completely at one with the international community on the Iranian nuclear problem, and we are deeply committed to the implementation of the IAEA and UN Security Council resolutions.

Embassy of France, January 18, 2007