Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, April 30, 2007)

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


I will read the statement made Saturday, April 28:

‘The French authorities confirm that one of the hostages from the Terre d’Enfance association was released in Afghanistan this morning.

‘The release is the result of efforts pursued for over three weeks. They are to be pursued with the same determination and the same discretion until the release of the other hostages.”

Q - Mr. Douste-Blazy has said that France didn’t intend to stay in Afghanistan. Is that France’s position? Is it an indirect signal to the Taliban and should it be seen as a shift on the part of France? Have the Taliban made other claims since the ones made public on April 20? (…)

With regard to your first point, as you know Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy commented on the question this morning. I’ve nothing to add to his replies.

As for your second point, the claims from the Taliban were made Saturday, and I shall refrain from comment.

As you will have noted in the statement we issued on April 28, the efforts made over the last three weeks to obtain the release of all the hostages are to be pursued with the same discretion which has been observed so far.

Q - Is Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Philippe Faure going back to Kabul before the end of the week?

As you know, Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Philippe Faure went to Kabul at the request of the French authorities. He came back on Friday evening. April 20.

We are fully mobilized in Paris and Afghanistan and ready at any moment to adapt.


France will take part in the conference ‘Keeping Promises on Education’ which will be held in Brussels on May 2. Organized by the European Union in conjunction with the United Kingdom and the World Bank, the purpose of the conference is to obtain confirmation by the member states of the European Union and G7 of the commitments made at Dakar and in New York in 2000. Concrete measures will be proposed to provide the developing countries with greater, faster, more effective and more predictable assistance in the education sector.

Midway to the date set for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the education goal is to enable 77 million children (of whom 44 million are girls) who are still deprived of primary education to complete primary school.

Yet, if the efforts made since 2001 are not augmented, at least 75 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, will fail to achieve the Millennium Goal of universal primary education.

Aid to education accounts today for 4% of total official development assistance. According to the 2007 global report prepared by the World Bank, $9 billion in external assistance is necessary to achieve the goal of universal primary education, which implies tripling the current level of aid to the poorest countries.


Q - What’s your analysis of the political crisis in Turkey? Are you worried about the situation?

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy commented on it this morning.

He said in particular that ‘it’s first up to the Turks and the Turks alone and their representatives in Parliament to decide what they’ve got to do for this presidential election.’

I have no further comment./.

Embassy of France, April 30, 2007