Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, November 22, 2007)

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


FRANCE/COLOMBIA/VENEZUELA

Q - Is France going to make any kind of demarche with the Colombian government after the announcement of the end of Mr. Chavez’s mediation on hostages being held by the FARC?

We remain determined to seek a humanitarian solution that puts an end to the tragic hostage situation in Colombia. We therefore support all efforts of facilitation and mediation on behalf of the hostages’ release, as we have reiterated to President Chavez.

MIDEAST

Q - Does the invitation to the Annapolis conference received by the foreign minister refer to the Arab peace initiative? Do you still consider this initiative to be the basis of negotiations?

It’s up to the Americans to make their invitation public. As for the Arab League’s peace initiative, we consider it to be a basis for negotiation on the same level as UNSCR 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, along with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the 2003 Road Map.

SUDAN

Q - According to Patrizia Sentinella, the Italian deputy foreign minister, Italy is organizing an international conference in Rome to revive the peace agreement between southern Sudan and the north of the country. Do you support this idea? Are you coordinating with the Italians on this subject?

We hope that the difficulties of implementing the peace agreement may soon be surmounted, and we support anything that fosters a direct dialogue between the parties. We therefore support the conference idea envisioned by Italy, which should bring together the main international actors as well as IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and the Forum of IGAD partner countries, as the peace agreement was concluded under their aegis.

Foreign and European Minister Bernard Kouchner had himself proposed, on September 21 in New York, during the consultations on Darfur held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, that an international review meeting take place—at the ministerial level, and with the parties’ participation—halfway through the implementation of the peace agreement signed in January 2005./.

Embassy of France, November 23, 2007