Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, December 18, 2007)

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


BALI CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE (DECEMBER 3-15)

The 13th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Third Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol were held in Bali, Indonesia, from December 3 to 15, 2007.

France welcomes the adoption of the “Bali Roadmap" which establishes a process for negotiations leading by the end of 2009 to a global agreement on the regime to address climate change for post-2012.

The Bali conference produced progress on action to address deforestation, help for developing countries in their efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change, and transfers of clean technology to these countries.

The Bali conference gave new impetus to the mobilization of the international community which now has two years to achieve an ambitious agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize global warming. As evident from the conclusions of the Grenelle Environment seminar in October, France remains totally committed to this goal.

DONORS’ CONFERENCE

The International Donors Conference for the Palestinian State has provided a strong signal of political and financial support to the government of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and their vision of a future Palestinian state. This support will be essential to underpin the political process launched in Annapolis last November.

The Paris Conference has made evident the high degree of confidence of the international community in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad’s reform and development program. As the minister said, the conference was a success, and most of all a success for the Palestinian state.

Delegations from 87 countries and international organizations pledged a total of US $7.4 billion to support institution-building and economic recovery for the next three years. Of this amount, US $3.4 billion has been pledged for 2008. This amount will also include humanitarian assistance, which is essential and helps to relieve the daily lives of the Palestinian population, especially in Gaza.

The Chair and co-Chairs want to thank all participants for their pledges and call upon all those states and international organizations in a position to do so to assist in the development of the Palestinian economy, to maximize the resources available to the Palestinian Authority and to contribute to the Palestinian institution-building program in preparation for statehood.

Within this framework the Chair and co-Chairs strongly urge a rapid disbursement of pledges, based on equitable burden-sharing among all donors. They encourage donors to provide budget support through the Single Treasury Account.

The Palestinian Authority’s program, “Building a Palestinian State,” is to be commended. It presents an ambitious but coherent, feasible macro-economic and fiscal agenda that is supported by the IMF and the World Bank. It clearly sets out the steps that the Palestinian Authority, together with the international community and Israel, must take in order to achieve its reform and development targets over the next 36 months. We are confident that the Palestinian Authority will continue to build on this plan to ensure the continuity of the reform process, including in the security sector.

The Chair and co-Chairs agree that no economic recovery would be possible without a substantial improvement in the conditions on the ground. They stress the need for shared responsibility to be exercised by the Palestinians and Israelis to ensure that measures on the ground, especially on movement and access, are conducive to economic recovery and the implementation of the plan. Immediate steps, such as the implementation of quick impact projects and the convening of private-sector stakeholders, must be supported.

The Chair and co-Chairs recall that the Paris Conference is an important step in a broader process which aims at a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. They stress their commitment to follow up the process at the highest level. They intend to meet on January 22. The input to this work will take place in coordination with all the parties involved, and within the established structures.

So that’s our assessment of the conference. I would simply like to insist on the importance of follow-up. It is essential now to make sure that the amounts pledged are delivered and the Palestinian program successfully implemented.

Q - The communiqué refers to the sum of $7.4 billion. Could you tell us the percentage of humanitarian aid in that amount and give us a breakdown of the amount by sector and by country?

The international community has indeed pledged $7.4 billion for the next three years, of which $3.4 billion is to be given in 2008. This amount includes humanitarian aid which is essential for providing some relief in the daily lives of the Palestinians.

With regard to geographic breakdown, Europe is providing 53%, North America 11%, the Arab countries 20% and the other countries 5%. International organizations are to provide 11%.

I will quickly give you the exact table for the sector distribution of the amounts.

In addition, aside from the political follow-up, there will also be follow-up by the international financial institutions, the IMF and World Bank, and a follow-up in the context of existing mechanisms, specifically the ad hoc liaison committee, which is under the Norwegians’ responsibility. That’s why the Norwegian minister was one of the co-chairs. And we will continue to work closely with Tony Blair, the Quartet’s special envoy.

(…)

LEBANON

Q - There were a lot of contacts on Lebanon yesterday and not much communication from the EU.

I refer you to the joint statement issued after yesterday’s meeting.

Q - Is France optimistic today about there being a new president on Saturday?

It’s not a matter of pessimism or optimism. We hope that come Saturday there will at last be an agreement. What was important--and this was mentioned yesterday, it was the purpose of the statement--is that it’s the wish of the entire international community since, may I remind you, the meeting, under the auspices of the UN secretary-general, was attended by Egypt, France, Italy, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the US, the Portuguese presidency of the European Union Council, the EU Commission and Javier Solana. Everyone called for the election of a president with broad support this Saturday.

Q - Does the minister see an end to this saga by March? He’d said as much on television.

Everyone is hoping that the question will be resolved Saturday. Let’s wait and see what happens on Saturday.

Q - Apart from hoping and the “Inshallahs,” are there negotiations going on in the corridors? Can you tell us about them?

The negotiations are taking place among the Lebanese. I’ve nothing to add.

Q - Ms Condoleezza Rice went to the Elysée. Can you tell us if there were talks?

I wasn’t present at the talks at the Elysée. I refer you to the Elysée spokesperson.

(…)./.

Embassy of France, December 18, 2007