Daily Press Briefing
Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(Paris, March 28, 2007)
[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]
Brigitte Girardin, Minister Delegate for Cooperation, Development and Francophony, will visit the Seychelles from March 29 to April 1 and then Mauritius on April 2 and 3.
In the Seychelles she will meet with President James Michel, the vice-president and several members of the government and with opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan. She will sign an agreement on the promotion and protection of investments, and an agreement in the tourism sector to facilitate the employment of Reunionese in the country. The visit will afford an opportunity to meet with French operators in the fishing sector.
In Mauritius she will meet on April 2 with Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and with several members of the government, and sign a framework partnership document (DCP). The DCP, involving an amount of 252 million euros, sets out the priorities for our cooperation, jointly agreed on, for 2007-2011 to assist the program of economic transition in Mauritius.
Ms Girardin will inaugurate the new premises of the French Development Agency (AFD) and sign the first annual convention for a 24-million-euro budget assistance package. Lastly she will sign an agreement between the government of the French Republic and the government of the Republic of Mauritius to facilitate the movement of Mauritians to Reunion.
During her stay in Mauritius, Ms Girardin will attend the 23rd council of ministers meeting of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) on April 3. The IOC council will examine the preparation of cooperation projects that are important for the future of the region, in particular a six-million-euro AFD project to increase the monitoring and prevention of epidemics such as the Chikungunya epidemic which affected the region in 2005 and 2006.
France welcomes the unanimous adoption on March 26, 2007 of Security Council resolution 1748 extending the mandate of the international commission of inquiry into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri until June 15, 2008.
In so doing the Security Council has again shown its unity and determination that the commission should continue its work in stability and pursue it to the end.
France wishes once again to affirm its full support to the international commission of inquiry and to its leader, Judge Serge Brammertz.
Q - The Palestinian prime minister said that considerable progress had been made towards obtaining the release of the French-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Do you have any new elements on this as the Palestinian foreign minister is coming to France in a few days?
As you say, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, in the letter he sent to his Palestinian counterpart on March 15, emphasized that the immediate release of Corporal Gilad Shalit remains essential to confirm the Palestinian government’s will and ability to enforce law and order in the Palestinian Territories.
For the rest, I will refrain from any comment in a matter where we have from the beginning observed the utmost discretion.
Q - What’s your reaction to the meeting between the king of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian president in Riyadh?
The nature of the meetings between the king of Saudi Arabia and the Syrian president has not yet been made public. Any exchanges that might help in resolving the crises in the region are welcome.
Embassy of France, March 28, 2007