Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, July 23, 2007)

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


RWANDA

I will read the communiqué issued by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner on July 20.

“I learn with satisfaction of the arrest this Friday of cleric Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta who are the subject of arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and judicial proceedings opened in France.

“After Mr. Kamali’s detention a few weeks ago, these arrests illustrate the firm will of the French authorities to cooperate fully with the ICTR.”

Q - After Friday’s arrests of P. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, which the minister welcomes, I’d like to know what the next steps are. Since diplomatic relations with Rwanda have been broken off, do you confirm that there can be no extradition to that country? In that case will they be tried in France or extradited to the ICTR in Arusha?

As you’ve noted, the French authorities have proceeded to arrest these two individuals, thereby demonstrating our will to cooperate closely with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

With regard to the preparation of these cases, justice must now follow its course, and I refer you to the relevant authorities.

AFGHANISTAN

I will read the communiqué issued by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner on July 21.

“We are saddened to learn of the death of one of the German nationals held hostage in Afghanistan.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the holding of new hostages in this country. All of them must be released.

“We assure the German and Korean authorities of our support and cooperation in these tragic times and express all our sympathy to the families and friends.”

POLAND

I will read the communiqué issued by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner on July 22.

“I express my profound sadness at the terrible bus crash which occurred in Isère this morning, claiming the lives of many Polish citizens. I offer my sincere condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

“I have already called my Polish counterpart, Anna Fotyga, to express my solidarity at this painful time and to inform her of the French people’s support to the Polish people affected by this tragedy.

“The Ministry has been mobilized since this morning, in close liaison with the Polish Embassy in France, to facilitate procedures for the Polish authorities and the victims’ families.”

COLOMBIA

Swiss Confederation President Calmy-Rey, French Foreign Minister Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos met in Paris on July 22 for in-depth consultations on the hostage situation in Colombia among other current questions (Darfur, Kosovo, Lebanon).

With regard to Colombia they reaffirmed their determination to continue their tireless efforts to achieve a humanitarian solution as quickly as possible.

(…)

FRANCE/AFRICAN UNION/ETHIOPIA

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner will go to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 26.

The visit will start at African Union headquarters with a meeting with AU Commission President Alpha Oumar Konare. Pursuant to the ministerial meeting of the enlarged contact group on in Paris on June 25, the minister will present President Konare with a report on the efforts of France and the European Union to resolve the crisis in Darfur, and will look with him for ways to strengthen the already close cooperation between France and the AU on this issue. The aim will be to prepare with President Konare for the upcoming ministerial meeting of the enlarged contact group in New York at the end of September. Other African issues will also be addressed.

The minister will then meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for exchanges on bilateral relations and the regional issues.

COMOROS/FRANCE

A Comorian delegation led by Foreign Minister Ahmed ben Sa’id Jaffar made a working visit to France from July 17-22, 2007 to meet with the new French authorities and strengthen bilateral relations.

Ahmed ben Sa’id Jaffar met with Secretary for Cooperation Jean-Marie Bockel and Secretary for Overseas France Christian Estrosi. He also had a meeting at the Office of the President.

During these meetings, the French side reiterated its full support to the authorities of the Union of the Comoros in the current political crisis and called for strengthening the country’s unity. It supported the African Union recommendations for transparent elections as soon as possible in Anjouan and welcomed the initiative of the Union of the Comoros to propose dates to this end.

It also proposed to the Comorian authorities a review of French cooperation with the Comoros in order to improve its effectiveness.

The Comorian side thanked France for its support for the Union of the Comoros in the present crisis and pledged on its side to facilitate the resumption of air and sea links between Mayotte and the other islands in the archipelago.

The two sides agreed to meet in Paris in the first half of September 2007 for a technical review of French cooperation actions in the Comoros.

This first technical meeting will be tasked with establishing a follow-up committee to the 2005 Franco-Comorian mixed commission and the Partnership Framework Document signed in 2006, which could meet in Moroni in the fall and will lead to deeper bilateral dialogue on all topics of common interest.

The question of the movement of people and goods between Mayotte and the other islands of the Comorian archipelago was the subject of a detailed exchange which will be continued in September with a view to formalization.

France also confirmed its support for the Comoros in the context of the upcoming donors’ meeting on clearing the Comoros’ arrears with the African Development Bank.

TURKEY

Q - What is your reaction to the results of the elections Turkey?

The results of the early legislative elections in Turkey are not yet official. According to estimates, the AKP is likely to have an absolute majority of seats and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue as head of government.

Q - In your view is the AKP victory going to help closer ties with the European Union? Is it going to affect the prospect of a privileged partnership between the European Union and Ankara supported by Paris but which Mr. Erdogan has consistently rejected in favor of full and complete EU membership?

These elections come at an important time for Turkey which is on the way to the political, economic and social reforms necessary to modernize the country. It is obviously very important for these reforms to continue with a view to the privileged partnership which we’re seeking with this country.

SUDAN/DARFUR

Q - Sudan rejected part of a draft resolution in the Security Council giving the hybrid forces the right to use force in their mission in Darfur, and rejects the mandate under Chapter 7. What’s your reaction? Do you think the resolution has to be voted under Chapter 7 in spite of the fact that Khartoum rejects it?

The talks are continuing in New York.

We hope that they succeed quickly so that the hybrid operation can be authorized and deployment on the ground speeded up.

France has maintained its co-sponsorship of this text which incorporates the exact recommendations agreed between the African Union and the United Nations, particularly on the legal basis and organization of the chain of command.

We hope that the Security Council therefore strengthens the unity and determination expressed by the international community at the meeting of the enlarged contact group in Paris on June 25.

KOSOVO

Q - Can you confirm the information published in Le Canard Enchainé on July 18 that a French diplomat posted to Pristina, Rodolphe Richard, “consistently warned Paris for two months” that “Kouchner’s position (on the independence of Kosovo) is highly questionable”?

The interpretation of the paper you’re referring to is totally erroneous.

Q - What’s your reaction to comments made by that diplomat in Pristina that “Kosovo could soon become governable only by criminals running the whole range of political, economic and social affairs, etc.”?

I refer you to my previous answer.

Q - In the same article still, Rodolphe Richard speaks of the “troubling role of the British” and Americans whom he considers highly lax when the head of the Kosovar secret services or the local drug kingpin is arrested then released? Do you confirm this happened and what’s your position in the face of these comments?

I refer you my previous answer on the same subject.

(…)

IRAN/NUCLEAR ISSUE

Q - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has just said he would support new sanctions on Iran and that there was going to be a new Security Council resolution on it. What measures might be considered against Iran?

Resolution 1747 asked the IAEA director-general for a report for May 24. This was produced; it confirmed that Iran was not implementing the UN Security Council resolutions. Since May 24, Mr. Solana has agreed to see Mr. Larijani again several times. He has increased his efforts to explain the position of the E3+3 and the offer made to Iran. In spite of this, Iran has chosen to persist in its rejection.

In these circumstances and until Iran agrees to suspend sensitive activities, we must clearly continue to send a message of firmness. So in accordance with resolution 1747 we must return to the Security Council and begin the necessary consultations for adopting a third resolution on sanctions. This new resolution, which we want to be firm, must clearly show Iran that its stubbornness is leading to increasing isolation which is harmful for its economy, its people and its overture to the world.

Q - Have the talk already begun between Security Council members?

Consultations are taking place at the level of high officials of the E3+3./.

Embassy of France, July 23, 2007