Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, August 22, 2007)

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


France welcomes the release of Haleh Esfandiari by the Iranian authorities. We hope that she will regain complete freedom of movement quickly. We make the same wish for the people who are in a similar situation in Iran.

France is committed to human rights in all circumstances and particularly to individual liberties such as the freedom to come and go.


Q - What’s your reaction to the agreement reached between the IAEA and Iran yesterday, setting out a timetable and framework for resolving the existing problems between the Agency and Teheran on the nuclear issue? Do you share the sentiment of the United States that this agreement is insufficient and that talks should continue in the Security Council on new sanctions against Iran?

We have taken note with interest of the announcements made yesterday about a timetable to resolve the “outstanding issues” in conformity with the demands made by the IAEA board of governors and UN Security Council.

With that said, we’ve not yet seen the timetable. We expect it to set out in detail the way to address all these issues as they’ve been identified over the years. The agreed measures will have to be effectively applied in the next few weeks and therefore be accompanied by the necessary instruments to implement them.

Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that confidence will not be re-established solely through increased IAEA inspections. In accordance with the repeated demands of the international community, Iran must agree to suspend its sensitive activities; absent that, the international community will have no other option than to maintain its attitude of firmness, including through the adoption of a third resolution on sanctions in the Security Council.


Q - What’s your reaction to the candidacy of Josef Tosovsky to head the IMF, and to the support he’s been given by Russia?

The process is still open for nominations for director-general of the IMF. The deadline for filing candidacies is August 31. Mr. Strauss-Kahn has himself said that any candidacies were welcome.

All the European Union member states, including the Czech Republic, have indicated they support Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s candidacy.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn is continuing his program of international meetings. After visiting Africa, he is currently in Asia and will be going to Latin America shortly.

He has already received considerable support during this travels, particularly from many African countries. In Asia his candidacy has just received China’s support.


Q - France has circulated a draft statement that would approve the deployment of European Union troops and UN police in Chad and the Central African Republic. How are the consultations going on this project? Do you have any details about how France might participate in such a presence?

The UN secretary-general presented a report on August 13 recommending the deployment of an international presence in eastern Chad and in the northeast of the CAR. There was an initial discussion yesterday in the Security Council in order to examine these recommendations which were favorably received by Council members.

France, which took the initiative for the proposed deployment, would like to see a Council decision on this quickly. We intend to make a significant contribution to a mission in eastern Chad and in the northeast of the CAR that is commensurate with our political commitment and presence there.


Q - What’s your reaction to statements in Le Monde by Iraq’s President Talabani rejecting the idea discussed in France for a Lebanese-style conference to resolve his country’s crisis?

The idea of convening an international conference is one option among others. It could be held when the time comes only if the Iraqis want it.

As he said during his visit, the minister emphasized that “we are ready to be useful but the solution is in the hands of the Iraqis, not the French.”

So it is up to the Iraqis themselves to determine the conditions for dialogue among the various communities. It is obviously not up to us to decide on the format or place.


Q - Can you confirm the reports that Mr. Kouchner sought to convey a message, via Nuri al-Maliki to Syria’s president regarding Lebanon and the request was rejected?

It’s not for us to enter into details of any talks the minister may have had with his interlocutors. Quite obviously, all the current regional questions were discussed./.

Embassy of France, August 22, 2007