Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, April 18, 2007)

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


LEBANON

Q - What’s the French reaction to the adoption of the presidential statement on resolution 1701?

We welcome yesterday’s adoption in the UN Security Council of a presidential statement on the implementation of resolution 1701. In doing so the Security Council is again showing its unanimous determination to implement resolution 1701 and its commitment to Lebanon.

We note that the Security Council, while welcoming the progress that has been made, with the assistance in particular of UNIFIL, calls on all parties to do more so the resolution is applied and to achieve a lasting cease-fire and political solution. Strict compliance with the Blue Line is a fundamental element. The French position on the continuing Israeli overflights is unchanged: it is essential they stop. We are also encouraging tripartite discussions under UNIFIL’s auspices and call on the Lebanese and Israeli authorities in this context to mark the Blue Line on the ground so as to prevent any untoward incident.

There will be no lasting political solution without settling the delineation of the borders and Shebaa Farms area. We accordingly attach particular importance to this. We are awaiting with great interest the conclusions of the UN secretary-general in June on the work of the UN cartographers and their recommendations on the proposals put forward in the seven-point plan adopted by the Lebanese government. The issue of prisoners will also have to be resolved as soon as possible.

In the text the Security Council also expresses its concern about reports of illegal arms movements across the Syrian-Lebanese border in violation of the arms embargo established in resolution 1701. We fully support the decision to send, in liaison with the Lebanese authorities, an independent mission to assess the monitoring of the border under the leadership of the secretary-general. The Lebanese authorities have made great efforts to strengthen the controls at their border. We must help them to continue in this direction. It is also up to all member states, and first those in the region, to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo.

UKRAINE

Q - What is your analysis of the latest developments in the political crisis in Ukraine?

We learned that demonstrators had blocked the judges’ access to the Constitutional Court before being dispersed by police.

We invite all the parties involved in the crisis to show restraint and to allow the normal interplay of democratic institutions without incident.

We noted with interest the statements by the Ukrainian president and prime minister during their respective visits to Brussels and Strasbourg on April 17, expressing their will to respect the Constitutional Court’s decision.

We invite the parties to engage in dialogue, whatever the difficulties, in order to find a way forward quickly in the interest of stability and democracy in Ukraine./.

Embassy of France, April 18, 2007