Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, February 20, 2013)

United States – Visit to France by Mr John Kerry, Secretary of State (Paris, 27 February 2013)
Mali

United States – Visit to France by Mr John Kerry, Secretary of State (Paris, 27 February 2013)

M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will have a meeting with Mr John Kerry, US Secretary of State, on 27 February.

On Mr Kerry’s first visit to France since his appointment, the discussions will allow us to talk about the whole range of bilateral and transatlantic relations and the major international issues.

M. Fabius and his counterpart will discuss the situation in Mali, on which we are cooperating very closely.  In particular, they will talk about the prospects of restarting negotiations for the Middle East peace process, the situation in Syria, Iran’s nuclear programme, the stabilization of Afghanistan and the North Korea issue.

They will also discuss global challenges, including the fight against climate change, and trade issues, looking ahead to an agreement to establish a free-trade area between the United States and the European Union.

Finally, the meeting will allow us to recall the excellent, substantive nature of the bilateral relationship, as much on the economic front as in terms of cultural, academic and scientific exchanges.


Mali

Q. – Groups from northern Mali like MUJAO [Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa] have threatened to strike at the heart of France.  Would you say the abduction of seven French people in northern Cameroon is unconnected to the French intervention in Mali?

Can you give us the identities of the seven hostages?

THE SPOKESMAN – The abduction of our compatriots in Cameroon yesterday is further proof of the reality of the terrorist threat, which existed before the French intervention in Mali.  It confirms once again the necessity of not letting the Sahel become a sanctuary for these groups.

As the Foreign Minister recalled yesterday, the fight against the terrorists remains an absolute necessity for the international community.  They are in fact a threat not only to Mali but to the whole of Africa, as shown by the many links forged between the groups based in the region.

Regarding your second question, the Foreign Ministry doesn’t provide this kind of information, for reasons of confidentiality and out of respect for the privacy of families in particularly difficult circumstances.