Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, May 24, 2007)

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


IRAN/IAEA

I will read a statement made by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner:

‘The report of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms the information which has reached us over the past few weeks on developments in the Iranian program:

- Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities but on the contrary has extended them: there are now over 2,000 centrifuges in operation or under assembly in the Natanz underground plant;

- Iran has not cooperated satisfactorily with the Agency: the extent of the unanswered questions is still as vast. The Agency confirms that Iran did not have the right unilaterally to modify, as it has, the application of its Safeguards Agreement. More seriously, the Agency points out that the fact that certain information had not been provided for over a year has markedly eroded its knowledge of the Iranian nuclear program.

‘There is still time for Iran to suspend its enrichment-related activities. Otherwise, as provided for by UNSCR 1747, we will have no choice but to press on at the Security Council.

‘If that were to be the case, I would like us to be able swiftly to adopt new sanctions, showing Iran that the path it has chosen is unacceptable and will lead only towards increasing isolation. I intend to discuss the matter with my E3+3 colleagues, particularly at the G8 foreign ministers meeting in Berlin next week.’

(…)

MIDDLE EAST

France condemns in the clearest possible manner the arrest of a Palestinian minister, legislators and elected officials, and demands their immediate release. These arrests are serious. They risk mortgaging the future of the national unity government and the possibility of a resumption of negotiations between the parties.

France reiterates its extreme concern at the escalation of violence which has caused many Israeli and Palestinian victims over the past few days. It calls on the leaders of all the political groups concerned to renounce violence, respect the cease-fire and resume dialogue.

FRANCE/LEBANON

Q - Could you give us the details of the minister’s trip to Lebanon?

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner is meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora today. The meeting will be followed by a press briefing at 4 p.m. The minister then meets with parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri and the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri. He will host a dinner in honor of several Lebanese political figures.

On Friday, May 25, after a meeting with intellectuals and representatives of civil society, the minister will meet His Holiness Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr. A press briefing is scheduled after these meetings at 1:30 p.m.

Embassy of France, May 24, 2007