Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, April 25, 2007)

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


SYRIA

France is deeply concerned at the five-year prison sentence given human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni.

It regrets this new attack on human rights in Syria. As the presidency of the European Union emphasized yesterday, the very day Mr. Bunni was sentenced, the repeated cases of harassment of human rights defenders in Syria are profoundly disturbing.

France calls for respect for the rights of the defense in any appeal procedure.

BIODIVERSITY

France will take part in the working group of the multi-donor fund for critically endangered ecosystems (CEPF – Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) in Washington on April 27, which will prepare the fund’s strategy for the coming years. The fund has resources of $150 million.

France will contribute $19.5 million in 2007 to the second phase of the CEPF (2006 – 2011). The World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the MacArthur Foundation, the American NGO Conservation International and the Japanese government also participate.

Critical ecosystems are areas subject to extreme environmental pressure where 70% of the original vegetation has disappeared. They are home to two-thirds of mammals that are dying out. The 34 critical ecosystems that are listed at this point are spread out over all continents. France is more particularly concerned about the situation in Africa and Asia, and especially in countries in the priority solidarity area (ZSP).

The CEPF finances projects proposed by local operators, NGOs, communities and private enterprises, whose costs vary from $3,000 to $400,000, for a maximum duration of five years.

IRAQ

Q - Is the minister planning to attend the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh on Iraq?

France will be represented at the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh on Iraq’s security. Because of scheduling reasons, the minister is not planning to attend. We will give you the composition of the French delegation as soon as possible./.

Embassy of France, April 25, 2007