Daily Press Briefing

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

(Paris, August 30, 2007)

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


DEATH OF PIERRE MESSMER

I will read a statement made by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of Pierre Messmer’s death. With him, France loses one of the great figures in its recent history, and one of its greatest servants.

“A heroic combatant of the Free French Forces, he made a distinguished contribution to the liberation of our country. As administrator of Overseas France, he helped African peoples move towards independence. As minister of the armed forces then prime minister under General de Gaulle, he was one of those who would enable France to recover its place on the international scene. Pierre Messmer was also a man of great cultivation and rare openness of mind. The distant places he had seen had given him a taste for exchanges and respect for people. It is also on that account that I hail his memory.

“I offer his family and loved ones my most sincere condolences.”

TURKEY

Q - What is France’s reaction to the election of Abdullah Gul as president of Turkey? If I’m not mistaken, there’ve already been reactions from many capitals but not Paris. If that is the case, why?

President Sarkozy sent a message of congratulations to the new Turkish president yesterday.

We welcome the election of Mr. Gul who has always shown himself to be very committed to relations with France and Europe, and we hope that his presidency will serve to strengthen relations between our two countries in a lasting way.

We also hope that with his election the reforms begun in Turkey will continue.

We are convinced that the capacity for dialogue and openness, which Mr. Gul showed in his duties as foreign minister, will again be employed in serving the policy of stability which Turkey pursues in the region and in international forums./.

Embassy of France, August 30, 2007