Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, November 21, 2007)

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


[…]

EU SUMMIT/ASEAN (SINGAPORE, NOVEMBER 22)

Rama Yade, Minister of State responsible for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, is representing France at the EU-ASEAN summit in Singapore on November 22. This summit will celebrate the 30th anniversary of relations between the two organizations. On this occasion, an EU-ASEAN plan of action will be adopted.

Rama Yade will devote particular attention to Burma. She will recall our position as well as our demands: Burma must initiate a real process of dialogue and national reconciliation. France considers that the ASEAN countries have a crucial role to play in shepherding this process, and that it is essential to maintain close contact with them on this question, as Bernard Kouchner did when he visited Singapore and Bangkok at the end of October.

This visit attests to our interest in the longstanding, special relationship between France and Southeast Asia. France was indeed the first European country to adhere to the treaty of friendship and cooperation with ASEAN, and we hope the EU will soon follow that example.

FRENCH HUMANITARIAN AID TO BANGLADESH FOLLOWING CYCLONE SIDR

France affirms its utmost solidarity with Bangladesh.

Our aid now amounts to €600,000. It is divided between approximately €300,000 in food aid and €300,000 in emergency aid. Emergency aid credits have been allocated by our embassy in Dacca to a French-Bangladeshi NGO, “Friendship,” which specializes in providing a humanitarian response to crises (medical aid, drinking water, food aid, aid in rebuilding homes, the reconstitution of means of subsistence).

France is also contributing through a European aid package of €6.5 million that has just been decided upon; it is the second-largest contributor, accounting for 16 percent of the total, or more than a million euros.

The minister of foreign and European affairs remains in continuous contact with NGOs (Médecins du Monde, Première Urgence, Solidarités, Handicap International) and with the French Red Cross, which are mobilizing in response to the cyclone.

[…]

ZOE’S ARK

Q - Eric Breteau has said he feels abandoned by the State. What is your reaction? Is there talk of extradition to France? What’s the status of that?

Consular visits take place daily. They fall within the framework of the consular protection extended to our six compatriots being held in N’djamena.

As for the legal proceedings under way, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Chadian and French courts.

IRAN

Q - What’s your reaction to recent Iranian criticism on “human rights violations” in France? Can you confirm that Teheran recently refused to welcome Mr. Cousseran?

If such criticisms have been expressed, they are unfounded. As for your second point: No, I can’t confirm that./.

Embassy of France, November 21, 2007