Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, December 20, 2007)

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


(…)

KOSOVO

Q - The UN Security Council didn’t reach any conclusion after the consultations on the status of Kosovo. What’s your reaction? Do you think the status quo in Kosovo is tenable?

As the European members of the Security Council and the United States recalled during yesterday’s debate in New York, attended by Serb Prime Minister Kostunica and Kosovar President Sejdiu, the status quo in Kosovo is not tenable.

That was also the view stated by the European Council in Brussels on December 14 which announced the European Union stands ready to take a leading role in strengthening the stability of Kosovo, in particular by mounting an ESDP mission.

MIDDLE EAST

Q - Do you think Israel’s action is justified in its “routine operations” in Gaza where there were several military incursions this week, and deaths in the course of them? The most recent was this morning near the Maghazi camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip, resulting in two deaths and casualties.

In the wake of Annapolis and the Paris Conference, which set in motion a new dynamism in the peace process in preparation for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, we call on all the parties to exercise the utmost restraint to prevent any risk of escalation and descent into an unproductive cycle of violence. We therefore condemn all acts of violence.

Its prolonged isolation entails major political, economic ands security risks. As the Donors’ Conference indicated, the international community will help the Palestinian Authority to develop economic projects in Gaza. The inclusion in due course of the Gaza Strip in the peace process will evitable come up. As the president said at the Paris Conference, peace will not be achieved without Gaza.

IRAQ

Q - What’s your reaction to the statements by Imam Moktada al-Sadr (via a spokesman) who announced he was thinking of continuing the truce with the coalition forces in Iraq and asking his Medhi Army militia to show restraint?

Everything that fosters dialogue among Iraqis and contributes to stopping the violence is welcome.

(…)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Q - UNHCR and the NGO Oxfam are urging the international community to assist people fleeing the war in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Can we expect a French initiative on this?

France is following the development of the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the closest attention, especially the humanitarian aspect. It is continuing its action to assist the people who are victims of the conflict by providing support to the UN specialized agencies and NGOs working in the field. In the face of the emergency it recently made a further contribution of 2.2 million euros to the World Food Program, thereby bringing our emergency aid to the country in 2007 to 5.5 million euros.

We are also encouraging a comprehensive approach to the problems in the east of the country and welcome the announcement of a peace conference soon in the Kivus; this shows the Congolese authorities are resolved to find a lasting solution to the current crisis.

We welcome the establishment of a follow-up committee on the implementation of the Nairobi communiqué and the announcement by the DRC and Uganda of the forthcoming normalization of their diplomatic relations.

We encourage the countries in the region to continue on this path of dialogue and consultation and we will continue to support their efforts to achieve rapid improvement in the situation the ground.

On these all points we are in constant contact with the main interested countries, especially European states./.

Embassy of France, December 20, 2007