Daily Press Briefing
Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(Paris, October 24, 2007)
[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]
France is delighted that the first winner of the Ibrahim Mo Prize for good governance in Africa is the former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.
The prize is a just reward for the action of this political leader to whom we pay particular tribute.
Mr. Chissano ended a 15-year civil war and set Mozambique on the path to democracy and economic growth. The main architect of his country’s political and economic stabilization, he has also worked for a long time to resolve Africa’s crises both in the African Union and at the United Nations.
Q - Rama Yade would like France to have a representative in Darfur, according to a statement she made in Sudan. Could you elaborate on this idea? What will the representative’s mission be? Did you discuss the idea with the Sudanese authorities?
Resolving the crisis in Darfur is a priority for French diplomacy. That is why, as the foreign and European affairs minister said, and the secretary for foreign affairs and human rights during her trip to Sudan, we are going to reinforce the means of our embassy in Khartoum so as to ensure a continued presence in Darfur.
Q - Are you still hoping that Abdulwahid el Nour will take part in the peace negotiations in Tripoli at the end of this month?
We are continuing our efforts to persuade all the parties concerned to go to Libya to take part in the peace negotiations. If Abdulwahid el Nour refuses, we will act accordingly, as State Secretary Rama Yade said during her visit to Sudan.
Q - France will “act accordingly.” Does that mean it will expel Mr. el Nour from France?
Our sole objective at this time is to urge all the parties to go to Libya.
Q - What’s your reaction to Amnesty International’s criticism of the two main Palestinian movements, Hamas and Fatah, with respect to human rights in the occupied territories over the past several months? Is it an issue that deserves to be brought up with Mr. Abbas as it was publicly with Mr. Hanniyeh?
France is committed to human rights everywhere in the world. We make a point of recalling this to all our interlocutors.
Q - The president of the Palestinian legislative council, Ahmed Baher, has asked the UN secretary-general to set up an international commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli prison yesterday. Does France, a member of the Security Council, support this request?
We’ve no knowledge of such a request. In general we advocate compliance with international instruments protecting human rights and in this particular case we invite the Israeli authorities to comply with the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners in a conflict.
Q - A protest by Palestinian prisoners broke out in Israeli prisons. Your comment?
I refer you to my previous answer. In addition, in the context of relaunching the peace process, we call on the Israeli authorities to be particularly vigilant with regard to any action that might result in a further rise in tensions.
Q - The Israeli daily Haaretz quotes several Israeli leaders as saying that President Sarkozy told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that it made no sense for the Palestinians to demand both an independent state and the return of refugees to Israel, which the president also describes as a “miracle.” Has France’s position on the right of return changed?
France’s position remains unchanged: final-status issues, particularly those relating to refugees, Jerusalem and borders, must be the subject of a negotiated agreement between the parties on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions. We encourage Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas on this path.
Q - What’s your response to Mr. Mottaki’s comments in Le Monde?
I will repeat what I said yesterday on this question, which concerns the entire international community. Iran has international obligations with which it is not complying at this time. It must in particular suspend all its sensitive activities linked to uranium enrichment./.
Embassy of France, October 24, 2007