Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(Paris, October 31, 2007)

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



The definitive results of the legislative elections in Togo were announced by the Constitutional Court yesterday.

In the view of France, and the international observer missions, these elections took place in satisfactory conditions. They are a decisive stage towards strengthening the democratic process and the normalization of the country’s relations with the international community on the political and economic levels.

We welcome the sense of citizenship and responsibility shown by the Togolese people throughout this process. Togo can count on France's support in its advance to democracy.



With just a few days before the annual presentation of the human rights prize of the French Republic in Paris on November 16, the French authorities have been informed about the situation of an Egyptian NGO, CTUWS—Center for Trade Union and Workers Services—which was awarded the human rights prize of the French Republic in 1999.

The organization’s headquarters have been closed and the periodical it publishes (Kalam Sina’iya) has been accused of slander, a charge that led to the sentencing on October 11 of its director, Kamal Abbas, to one year in prison by a court of first instance..

We are closely following the situation of Mr. Kamal Abbas and the center whose high level of work is known to us.


Q - Could you give us details about the meetings US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch is having with French officials in Paris?

We don’t comment on meetings held at the level of senior officials.



Q - Mr. Hariri and Mr. Aoun are apparently due to met in Paris today. Is this initiative part of France’s efforts to further political dialogue in Lebanon? Do you have any comment?

We’ve been informed that Mr. Hariri and Mr. Aoun are in Paris. You know our position: France supports all efforts to promote dialogue between the Lebanese parties with a view to an agreement on the election of a president with broad support, according to the timeframe and rules set out in the constitution. Even so, France is not involved in the talks scheduled between Messrs Aoun and Hariri who are here in a private capacity.

Q - Are Mr. Aoun and Mr. Hariri scheduled to meet with the French authorities?

If there are contacts, we’ll let you know.

Q - Reports are circulating about an enlarged meeting on Lebanon on the sidelines of the ministerial conference in Istanbul. This meeting will be discussing eventual recognition of a Lebanese president elected by a simple majority. Can you confirm these reports? If so, do you have details about the initiative?

There’ll be many contacts on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting in Istanbul, in different formats. Planning for these contacts is under discussion at this time.


Q - An Israeli airstrike killed several people in Gaza last night, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the prospect of a large-scale military operation against the Palestinians was drawing closer. What’s your reaction?

We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to show the utmost restraint so as not to fuel the cycle of violence. We also call for rocket fire into Israel by Palestinians factions to stop

We repeat that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only the opening of a real political perspective of two states will bring peace and security to the Middle East.



Q - Is France preparing itself for a unilateral declaration of independence from Kosovo as an article in today’s Le Monde says?

Q - In reference to the article in Le Monde dated today, would France recognize a unilateral declaration of the independence of Kosovo?

We don’t see matters in this perspective. We continue to support the troika’s efforts to ensure the discussions it is mediating between the Serbs and Kosovars lead to a solution acceptable to all between now and December 10./.

Embassy of France, October 31, 2007