Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, June 26, 2007)

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


I welcome the appointment of Robert Zoellick as president of the World Bank. I offer my warmest congratulations to the new president of the World Bank who will take up his office for a five-year term on July 1.

Mr. Zoellick has the international experience and requisite qualities for consolidating the credibility and effectiveness of an institution which plays a fundamental role in promoting development, especially in Africa. I had the opportunity to discuss these priorities with him at a meeting on June 12. I hope now to maintain a close and trustful working relationship with Robert Zoellick.

France is naturally ready to work with the new president to respond to the many challenges which the Bank has to face at this time, such as defining a long-term strategy for the World Bank group and the 15th replenishment of funds for the International Development Association (IDA).


I want to give you the main conclusions of the ministerial meeting of the enlarged Contact Group on Darfur which was held in Paris yesterday.

The meeting affirmed the unity of the international community in the efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur. May I remind you that 17 countries, including the United States, China and Russia, plus several regional and international organizations, notably the UN, were represented at a high level.

1-A consensus was reached on giving priority to a political solution brokered jointly by the African Union and the UN. The roadmap now has to be implemented, and this requires the effort of everyone: Sudanese authorities and rebel movements, co-mediators, regional actors and the international community as a whole, which will have to take adequate measures, in the framework of the UN Security Council, against those who refuse to negotiate in the conditions of the roadmap.

2-Participants made a convergent analysis of the cause and effect between the humanitarian emergency and the security emergency in Darfur. A consensus was reached on four areas for action to improve the lot of populations:

- accelerated deployment of UN reinforcements to AMIS;

- reflecting the agreement on the AU/UN hybrid operation in a new Security Council resolution;

- continued support to AMIS: the entire international community must shoulder its responsibility and increase its contribution to the AMIS budget. France for its part will be making an additional contribution of 10 million euros as President Sarkozy announced yesterday;

- lastly, the enlarged Contact Group invited all the parties to respect the cease-fire.

3-The regional situation was also discussed as the emergency also concerns eastern Chad and the northern part of the Central African Republic where there are many refugees and displaced persons and where the violence is continuing.

France is engaged in a major operation in support of humanitarian operation in Chad, organizing an air bridge to help the World Food Program in particular. Other countries, such as Spain, confirmed their willingness to add to the effectiveness of this measure.

As an agreement of the Chadian authorities is emerging in favor of international intervention, we are continuing to work with Chad, the UN and the EU on the preparation of an operation to secure the areas of Chad most affected by the Darfur crisis. There was also the wish that a positive response should be given to the request by the authorities of the Central African Republic for an international presence in the northeast of the country.

4-The participants also expressed their commitment to ensuring, when the time comes, wide support for the reconstruction and development of Darfur and areas affected by the crisis, in Chad and the Central African Republic.

5-Lastly they noted that full and complete implementation of the North-South peace agreement signed in January 2005 in Nairobi was a condition for peace in Darfur.

6-As he announced at the press conference, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner will brief African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare on the results of yesterday’s meeting and confer with him on future stages. A working group of the enlarged Contact Group on Darfur could be held, again at ministerial level, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.

Q - The president has announced an additional contribution of 10 million euros. What was the initial contribution?

First, remember that there is a big EU contribution to AMIS, the African force. I believe initially, the contribution was 242 million euros, to which were added recently a further 40 million euros. This means that the EU has made or is making a contribution of nearly 280 million euros to AMIS. Of these 280 million, France pays nearly a quarter. The money comes from the European Development Fund, about 25% financed by France.

With regard to our aid, if you include bilateral aid and our contribution through the EU, since the beginning of the crisis we estimate the French effort at 145 million euros.

The 10 million the president announced yesterday is extra. So we are contributing, and are willing to contribute more. The important thing is also how the money is used and being certain that the money does go to the African force. This is one of the points that was discussed by ministers. There needs to be transparency and good management of funds so we can be sure the money is used where it is needed.

In the absence of a final communiqué, can we consider your statement as a final communiqué?

It is something we’re doing under our own responsibility and it sums up the conclusions of yesterday’s meeting. It repeats what the minister said in his press conference.

How do you explain the absence of a final communiqué?

There was no final communiqué because we’d never envisioned having a final communiqué. It was always agreed that this was to be a contact group meeting, one that isn’t normally followed by that kind of communiqué. The formula we adopted was to have conclusions by the presidency, i.e. by Mr. Kouchner at the end of the meeting.

Do you think there were differences among the participants on certain topics?

What I just said a moment ago points rather to the contrary. One of the major achievements of yesterday’s meeting was on the contrary to show the common ground among the participants, including the US, China and others, on many points.

If you’re asking me if we all agree on all the elements and on all the proposals that might be made, the answer is probably not. But there are many elements of convergence on all the points which I mentioned earlier.

How do you explain the delay in deploying the hybrid force?

There is no delay in regard to the timetable envisaged by the UN. Don’t forget that before the hybrid force, which is an important stage, there is phase 2, strengthening the assets of AMIS. This is in progress. Mr. Guéhenno, who was there yesterday, briefed ministers very precisely on phase 2. I believe that things are moving forward in satisfactory conditions and that phase 2 should be deployed in the coming months.

Then there will be the hybrid force per se, with the prospect of deployment for early 2008, which is in line with the timetable envisaged by the UN.

President Sarkozy said yesterday that the AMIS soldiers hadn’t been paid since January.

You’re right to make this point. Actually there is a certain contradiction between the importance of the effort being made by the international community and the fact that there’s a problem paying wages and difficulty financing the force. This is a troubling aspect which ministers discussed yesterday and they insisted on good management and transparency in the use of credits.

With that said, the responsibility is probably a shared one. I’m not blaming the African Union. There are probably also delays on the European side. It is important that all together we verify that the funds actually reach their destination.

Last week you said that you were having talks with the African Union to invite it to yesterday’s meeting. What arguments did the AU put forward for not attending the meeting?

What we were told by the leaders of the African Union when the minister and our Africa director spoke with them is that for reasons of principle they didn’t usually take part in exercises of this sort. But that didn’t mean they were not interested.

As I’ve just said, the minister is to brief Mr Konare on the results of this meeting. We intend to consult the AU on the next stages, especially if there is to be another meeting of the enlarged contact group in the fall.

Can you tell us one or two points of difference?

That’s not my role. It’s a question for the various delegations that were here yesterday. I’ve emphasized the common ground, which is significant and important.

The interest of yesterday’s meeting was to forge an international consensus and move towards unity in handling this question. I believe we reached a major threshold from this point of view yesterday.

Is the exploitation of resources in the ground in Sudan part of the convergence?

The question of sharing the wealth is an important element, including for a political agreement. We know that in the agreement concluded in the south this was one of the elements which was taken into consideration. It is up to the Sudanese in the context of talks on a political agreement to see how they can deal with wealth-sharing.

Did the Chinese agree on this?

It’s a question that wasn’t debated directly yesterday. It's a matter for the Sudanese authorities and their dialogue with the rebel movements.

If we have a sanctions regime, especially for oil, what would China’s attitude be?

Once again, that wasn’t the purpose of the meeting yesterday. It's just that it’s probably one aspect that has to be taken into consideration in the agreement or political arrangements that are reached in Sudan.

Yesterday China’s foreign minister…said that firmness would not take things forward. Isn’t that a difference? Why this warning to Sudan?

I refer you to the statement which I’ve just made saying that we don’t rule out having the Security Council take adequate measures against those who refuse to negotiate. When we say “those who refuse to negotiate,” it’s not necessarily the Sudanese authorities. It may also refer to the rebel movements that refuse to enter into negotiation. That’s perfectly clear.

There may be a difference of appreciation on this question between certain countries represented yesterday. Our position is clear. The priority is political dialogue, the deployment of the hybrid force. We consider that we have to work on this aspect. But at the same time we’re also saying that if at the end of a certain time, there’s no result, if there’s obstruction and an unwillingness to negotiate, whether by the Sudanese authorities or the rebel movements, then we would have to draw the consequences. At that point new measures are not ruled out.

With new sanctions?

Sanctions exist already under SCR 1591. We don’t rule our new sanctions in the future but it’s not our preferred scenario. Assuming there’s no progress on the political aspect, we would have to draw the consequences.

Are you worried about delays?

We’re not looking at things in that light. But we want to be certain there’s no delay. We think that it is important for the international community to be very vigilant and that it has to bring pressure to bear in order for the process to advance as scheduled.

What additional timeframe are you giving Sudan.

We’re not the ones giving them time. There is a roadmap which has been prepared by the UN and AU and serves as a framework for negotiations.

The plan is to have further contacts in July and other stages which are being considered.


Q - Can you tell us about the minister’s meeting with Mr. Moussa?

The minister met this morning with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. Together they reviewed all the regional questions and particularly, in view of events, the situation in the Palestinian Territories and the situation in Lebanon.

What is very important first is that we reiterated our firm desire to confer with the Arab League and with the Arab League Secretary General on these questions. This is very important. I believe there is a shared wish on the Arab League side and the French side that this consultation should be as close as possible.

With regard to the Palestinian Territories, there’s a shared realization about the seriousness of the situation. We reaffirmed the support that must be given to Mahmoud Abbas, which moreover was displayed just recently at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit which we would have liked in passing to lead to more gestures, including on the part of the Israelis. But some gestures were made.

With regard to Lebanon, the minister and Mr. Moussa exchanged views and they agree, I believe, on the objective that has to be pursued, which is to bring about the conditions for a resumption of dialogue among the Lebanese. I believe that’s the aim of the Arab League. It is what Mr. Moussa set out to do on the ground a few days ago, and it’s also what we’re aiming for through the informal meeting which we’re planning. So there was common ground on the objectives and also at the same time, regarding Lebanon, recognition that the situation remains difficult and complex, but that we know.


Q - The US administration has reportedly prepared a list of prominent Lebanese who could be hit with a travel ban or sanction. They’re people from the opposition. Are you aware of this? Is there a French list?

I’ve not heard anything about it. I don’t believe it was discussed during Ms Rice’s talks in Paris. We abide by UN resolutions.

Q - Did Mr. Moussa tell Mr. Kouchner about his meetings in Beirut and the fact that his mediation wasn’t successful?

The situation in Lebanon was discussed, and Mr. Moussa briefed us on his efforts. We know that the situation isn’t easy and that for now the efforts were not productive. There is a resolve on the Arab League side and on our side to continue what has been started to create a favorable climate in spite of everything. That is what we wish to do, and the Arab League is working to this same goal.

Q - What efforts are you referring to?

The efforts Mr. Moussa made in Lebanon when he was there to meet with various parties and then the proposal for an informal meeting in France which you know about.

Q - If Mr. Kouchner heard about the difficulties that Mr. Moussa ran into in Lebanon, could France and the Arab League take some joint initiative or make some joint outline to overcome these difficulties?

You’re talking of a joint initiative? I don’t think it was discussed in that form. What is important is that we are all working in the same direction, and that was confirmed by this morning’s meeting. With regard to our own efforts, as you know there was Mr. Cousseran’s mission. At this time there is Mr. Siniora’s visit—he is due to meet President Sarkozy and will also meet the minister. There’s this visit to Paris by Mr. Moussa. These are all elements that we shall be taking into consideration to see now how we can act in coming days.

Q - Does that mean that you’re sticking to the plan for an informal meeting in Paris?

We are still working on the project and taking on board what various parties have said. What Mr. Siniora tells us, as you may imagine, will be very important from this standpoint. As he’s not yet had his meetings with the French authorities, I can’t tell you what conclusions we shall come to, but certainly it’s a very important element which we’ll be taking into account in regard to what comes next.

Q - What did Ms Rice say about the informal meeting you’re planning?

We’ve already talked about it. The minister repeated what our objectives are, the very informal nature of the meeting, the fact that quite obviously we clearly stand by Lebanon’s legitimate authorities and by Mr. Siniora, and that his visit to Paris made this very clear. I believe the Americans have a rather positive appreciation of this initiative, as they’ve said themselves, but I don’t want to speak for them.

Q - You mentioned common objectives but the minister also spoke of divergences, of differences in strategy between the French and Americans?

Overall I don’t believe that the minister spoke of differences. I believe that views are very close on Lebanon. All the gains that were made over the past few years were achieved very largely because there was common action, specifically by France and the United States, and I believe that we are very close on the Lebanese question. There are more nuances maybe on the Palestinian question. As the minister said at his press conference, on the French side we would undoubtedly have preferred direct aid to be resumed to the Palestinians earlier and more quickly. It wasn’t possible because the Quartet didn’t reach agreement.

Q - How can you both support the Siniora government and call for the formation of a new government?

We’re not calling for the formation of a new government. There is a government in place, and we support Mr. Siniora. His visit to France makes this perfectly clear. As we’ve said and are ready to say again, and Mr. Siniora doesn’t disagree, it is essential to try to rally the Lebanese, to see to it that all the Lebanese communities find their place in the institutions. There’s no contradiction.

Q - Still, you want there to be a new government?

We would like to see Lebanon’s institutions able to function in a harmonious way, for the opportunity to be seized, after having reached the stage of establishing the tribunal, to work on the political aspect. That was the minister’s message when he was there. Unfortunately, it’s hard to realize this, but it is quite clear that if the current political crisis is to be resolved, people will have to get together and make room for all the communities.

Q - What do you mean creating the conditions for a dialogue, on the part of the Arab League? Did Mr. Moussa mention anything specific?

We know perfectly well what the Arab League’s initiatives are. Mr. Moussa was in Lebanon a few days ago. The Arab League is playing a key role, trying to have contacts with various parties, trying to facilitate an agreement, especially on the eventual formation of a new government. These are the Arab League initiatives. For our part we still have this same idea of holding an informal meeting to create a positive and constructive atmosphere.

Q - You need to have new contacts?

That is what Mr. Moussa is trying to do. We think that these various initiatives are complementary and converge towards the same objective even though they are distinct.

Q - At Mr. Kouchner and Ms Rice’s press conference, Mr. Kouchner mentioned for the first time the object of the seminar being a clear message of French support for the forces of March 14, whereas the message given at the beginning was a message of support to all Lebanese and especially an overture to all the communities that must take their place in the government.

The two elements are not necessarily incompatible. There’s a movement under way in Lebanon, which we all know and which opens up prospects for Lebanon in the future, specifically to assert the country’s independence and sovereignty. France and the US have contributed to this by working a great deal at the UN on this question. It is obviously something that is very important. At the same time there’s also the element of overture you mentioned to all the communities and all the political forces. The minister is fully aware of the importance of working with all the communities, as he said when he was there.

Q - You mentioned the enlarged national unity government. All the Lebanese share this objective, but the problem comes from the interpretation of what a national unity government means and the conditions for achieving it. Do you have your own approach on this point?

No. It’s not our place to have a specific approach on this question. It is a matter for the Lebanese. For us, the important element is this element of dialogue and of course the commitment to preserving the achievements over the past few years. These gains mustn’t be lost. It is this forward movement--the assertion of Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty, the establishment of the tribunal--which is a very important element. We are very attached to these two elements, as is the international community. For the rest, with regard to the composition of the government and how it should function, it’s not for us to say.

Q - If the results of the Lebanese prime minister’s visit were not in favor of the meeting in mid-July, would it be conceivable to postpone the meeting and have something else, a peace conference for example?

We will have to see what lessons come out of the prime minister’s visit. The essence of our initiative is the informal aspect. A peace conference—the title rather scares me. It’s very formal and doesn’t seem appropriate. We don’t have a situation where we should be talking about a peace conference. Lebanon’s problem is more a question of rallying together and reconciliation. I’ve not heard anyone refer to initiatives other than that.

Q - Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Ki-moon spoke yesterday about Shebaa Farms. Can you tell us what they said?

We have always said that it was one of the elements for a political settlement of the question. It is part of the political parameters of resolution 1701, and we consider there needs to be progress on this point. There were elements in the secretary-general’s last report. A new report is to be prepared on the follow-up of resolution 1701, and it’s an element we shall take into consideration.


Q - There are two views of the Palestinian crisis. The Americans have said they’re satisfied with the division between Palestinian extremists and moderates. Is France in favor of a dialogue among the Palestinians? What is France’s policy for resolving the crisis?

I haven't heard the Americans say they were satisfied with this situation. No one moreover can be satisfied with present situation.

It’s a situation that worries us a lot. The conclusion we draw even if we don’t necessarily use the same descriptors is that it’s essential to work with President Abbas who is the legitimate president of the Palestinian Authority and who’s set up an emergency government. There is very broad consensus on this.

Today there’s meeting of the Quartet, and I think it will confirm the consensus on this direction.

Q - Did you welcome the release of the 250 Fatah prisoners?

The announcement of the release of these prisoners.

Q - We know that Gilad Shalit, who has dual French and Israeli nationality, is in the hands of Hamas and that Israel is holding legislators and ministers prisoner. Fatah prisoners, who are opposed to Hamas, have been released. Do you think the release of these 250 prisoners will worsen tensions?

You are right to mention the fact of other prisoners. In the minister’s statement about Gilad Shalit being held prisoner, he recalled very clearly that we wanted to see a solution. He recalled our concern about the fact that elected Palestinians remained prisoners, and demanded their release.

Q - My question is whether the release of 250 Fatah prisoners will add to and worsen the conflict between Hamas and Fatah?

In any case we hope it’s not the case.

Q - Do you have any comment about the video of Mr. Shalit that was made public yesterday?

The minister commented during the weekend about Gilad Shalit. It's a sound recording rather than video. It has to be analyzed, but at first analysis it seems to prove he is alive, which is a good thing. At the same time there are disturbing elements in what Gilad Shalit says, and it confirms the need for him to be released very quickly.

Q - Mr. Kouchner spoke the other day about an exchange of prisoners. This is new in France’s diplomatic language. Are you taking part in a negotiation on exchanging prisoners?

These are situations in which we don’t give out details. What we’d like is to see a solution so that Gilad Shalit can be released. Egypt has been mediating, and the minister paid tribute to Egypt’s mediation in his statement. We hope that these efforts continue and that a solution is reached that is acceptable to Israel and the Palestinians.


Q - When you say you’d have liked to see the Sharm el-Sheikh summit lead to more significant gestures, notably on the part of Israel, what were you expecting?

The good news is that this took place and led to a meeting between Mr. Olmert and Mr. Abbas. The positive element is that the Israeli prime minister announced the release of 250 Fatah prisoners. This is obviously a step in the right direction and strengthens President Abbas.

At the same time, more has to be done in this direction. At the political level, it is important to open a perspective and confirm something Israel has begun to say. I am thinking of the release of the 600 million dollars that are still frozen, and also freedom of movement. It is a very important element. Israel has to make gestures with regard to the free movement of people and goods. Without these, we are going to have a still more tragic situation in the Palestinian territories. It is essential go to beyond what was announced at Sharm el-Sheikh.


On Wednesday, June 27 at 5 p.m. Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner and European Affairs Secretary Jean-Pierre Jouyet will receive representatives and actors in Franco-German cooperation for a reception dedicated to Franco-German friendship. Gunter Gloser, the German minister delegate for European affairs, will be present. Tribute will be paid to Klaus Neubert, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Paris since July 2004, before he leaves. There will be a large number of students and high-school students, especially from the Franco-German university, the Franco-German Lycée de Buc and the German section from the Lycée Honoré de Balzac in Paris.

We will salute the work achieved by the German presidency and the agreement obtained at the European Council on June 21 and 22 on a new reform of the European Union treaties.

Before the meeting, Jean-Pierre Jouyet will have talks at 3 p.m. at the Quai d’Orsay with Gernot Erler, German Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, to discuss in particular European neighborhood policy, EU relations with Russia and the energy issue.

At 6:30 p.m. Jean-Pierre Jouyet and Gunter Gloser, both secretaries-general for Franco-German cooperation, will take part in the presentation of Franco-German journalism prizes at the Maison de la Radio.


We are celebrating today International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, established at the initiative of the UN General Assembly.

The UN has a central position in regard to the fight against drugs. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime issued its world report on drugs today. It reports a certain degree of stability in growing, production and consumption. The result is attributed to the mobilization of the entire international community, which is indispensable in combating this scourge. The report endorses the need to pursue initiatives such as the Paris Pact on drug routes from central Asia, an idea that started with our country.

France’s policy mobilizes a number of ministries and is co-ordinated by an interministerial mission to combat drugs and addiction. It takes a balanced approach to the question through actions to reduce drug supply and demand. The aim is to fight traffickers, in particular through the development of judicial cooperation, border control and measures to stop money-laundering from trafficking, and act with respect to consumers by preventing and treating drug addiction.

Respecting this principle, France will continue to act on the international scene against drug abuse and the illicit trafficking of drugs, keeping in mind that the global drug problem is a shared responsibility among all countries, consumers as well as producers.

Q - I find it bizarre that the UN says there’s stability in production and consumption. Reports indicate that drug trafficking has resumed in Afghanistan.

Reading the text, I had the same reaction as you. I’ve not seen the report. But it speaks of the global situation. With regard to Afghanistan in particular, I agree with you that the situation is not satisfactory. In that country efforts must certainly be redoubled to fight drug trafficking. The conference we hosted in Paris on drug routes from central Asia aimed precisely at seeing what we could do together, in that region especially.


The European Commission announced yesterday that it had approved the two requests from France for intervention from the European Globalization Adjustment Fund for support for wage-earners affected by the restructuring in the automobile sector over the past few months.

We welcome the Commission’s assessment of our requests. We’re now hoping that the budget authority approves these proposals. The European financing, which could be around 3.8 million euros, should help workers affected by the restructuring to find jobs quickly.

The Commission’s decision also reflects the operational character of this Fund established to help respond to the sometimes negative consequences of globalization. France has supported this fund from the beginning and made sure throughout the negotiations that it could be rapidly implemented. This reflects the Europe we want to see—a project-oriented Europe, concrete and protective with respect to Europe’s citizens.


France wishes to reaffirm on this 10th International Day in Support of Victims of Torture its condemnation of the practice of torture in all circumstances and its support for victims of this practice unworthy of mankind. It fully subscribes to the European Union statement.

The fight against torture is a priority in French and EU action in human rights, in international forums and on the ground. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment. We encourage all states that haven’t yet done so to ratify this fundamental legal instrument in the fight for human dignity, and condemn all actions aimed at rendering torture legal or authorizing its use. No circumstance, be it a state of war, an emergency, or the fight against terrorism, justifies recourse to this practice. The optional protocol to the convention, which France has pledged to ratify during its current term in the human rights council, is a key tool in the prevention of torture.

The fundamental fight against torture must not ignore the victims, whose lives are often broken and destroyed. France pays tribute to human rights defenders who, sometimes at the cost of their lives, act with conviction and selflessly to restore dignity to victims. The fight against the impunity of executioners and those responsible for such acts is an indispensable aspect of our action, along with the possibility for victims to ask for effective reparation. You know that France is actively committed to supporting international criminal justice; we also support the United Nations Fund for the Victims of Torture.

France would like to reaffirm lastly its support for the special UN rapporteur on torture, the UN Committee against Torture, the new Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, and the Council of Europe’s European Committee for Prevention of Torture, all of which play a crucial role in the promotion and protection of human rights and human dignity.

Q - Given your statement, is France going to take a position on Guantanamo?

We’ve already taken a position. Like the other EU countries, we believe that Guantanamo should be closed.

Q - But with respect to torture?

We’ve also spoken out on this question. We would like to see the international instruments, in particular the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment respected by all states. No country is exempt from it.

Q - When Mr. Sarkozy met Mr Putin, there were statements that he had discussed human rights in Russia. Did Mr Sarkozy bring up this question with Ms Rice?

I don’t know if it was discussed specifically during the meetings, but our position is well known to the Americans.

Q - Is there a European list of countries that practice torture?

In the committees I cited, work is going to highlight this kind of practice.

Q - Have measures been taken at the UN against countries that practice torture?

First of all, there is great vigilance at the UN, particularly with respect to the special rapporteur in order to denounce these practices.

Q - Aside from denouncing them, are measures or sanctions taken against these countries?

The fact of having a public and political denunciation of this kind of practice is already important in itself./.

Embassy of France, June 27, 2007