Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, June 10, 2013)

 

Meetings between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Thierry Repentin and the Romanian minister of foreign affairs (Paris, June 11, 2013)
Guinea-Bissau – Formation of a national unity government
Iran – Arak facility
Israel
Madagascar – Presidential elections


Meetings between Mr. Laurent Fabius and Mr. Thierry Repentin and the Romanian minister of foreign affairs (Paris, June 11, 2013)

Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Thierry Repentin, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, will receive on June 11 Mr. Titus Corlăţean, Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

These meetings fall within the framework of close bilateral relations and follow on from the meeting between the two prime ministers in Paris on February 21, during which the new road map for the French-Romanian strategic partnership was signed.

The ministers will discuss current European issues and notably the implementation of the banking union, the strengthening of the economic and monetary union and the negotiations on the European budget for the period 2014-2020.

Mr. Fabius and Mr. Corlăţean will also discuss the situation in Syria and Mali. They will also talk about the prospects for bilateral economic cooperation, notably in the areas of transport, energy and infrastructure. 

 

Guinea-Bissau – Formation of a national unity government

France welcomes the appointment of the new national unity government led by Prime Minister Rui Duarte Barros.

This is an important step in the transition and stabilization process in Guinea-Bissau since the coup d'état on April 12, 2012.

In accordance with the decisions of the Economic Community of West African States, this government should very swiftly lead the country toward parliamentary and presidential elections by the end of the year.

France encourages the stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure that the country is able to complete its transition in an atmosphere of calm. It reaffirms the importance of the security sector reforms, including the fight against drug trafficking, the fight against impunity and respect for human rights, prerequisites for Guinea-Bissau's long-term stability in its regional environment.

 

Iran – Arak facility

With respect to Iran, what’s your response to the most recent developments at the Iranian heavy water facility in Arak? Are you satisfied by the “guarantees” provided by Tehran with respect to the IAEA’s access to this site and Iran’s statements regarding the final purpose of the program in Arak?

The resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors demand the suspension of all Iranian heavy water-related activities. The installation of the reactor vessel, if it were to be confirmed by the IAEA, would constitute a further breach by Iran of its obligations and an additional provocation.
The construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak is extremely troubling and will allow Iran, once the reactor is operational, to produce plutonium. As the IAEA director general reaffirmed in his report of May 22, Iranian cooperation with the agency has long been woefully inadequate with respect to the heavy water reactor in Arak. Since 2006 Iran has refused to provide up-to-date information on the design of the reactor. It has also prevented any access to the heavy water production plant for more than two years.

Despite its assertions, Iran is therefore still failing to provide any evidence that its nuclear activities – heavy water-related activities as well as uranium enrichment activities – only have a civilian purpose.

We call on Iran to heed the message of unity and firmness regarding its failure to uphold its obligations delivered last week in Vienna at the IAEA by the E3+3 group (France, Germany, the UK, the United States, Russia and China). Otherwise, diplomatic pressure on Iran will continue to increase.

 

Israel

With respect to Israel, the NGO Peace Now reports that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are at their highest level in 7 years and that in the first quarter of 2013 the number of housing starts tripled compared to the previous quarter. The NGO gives the Israeli government’s official figures.

What is the status of the policy aimed at convincing Israel that settlement activity is contrary to the peace process? Apart from the statements and the expressions of disapproval, how do you think you can convince the Israeli government of the merits of your position? What’s happening at the European level on this issue which everyone seems to see as a major obstacle to peace and to the two-state solution, whilst not forgetting the issue of international law which is continuously being flouted?

We’re extremely concerned by the developments referred to in the report that you mention. The new construction projects observed at the beginning of the year are largely the result of the approvals granted at the end of 2012, which we condemned.

Our position on settlement activity is well known: we believe that it is illegal under international law, that it undermines the trust necessary for the resumption of dialogue and that it constitutes an obstacle to a just peace based on the two-state solution.

I reaffirm that the EU Foreign Affairs Council signaled in May and December 2012 our determination to fully and effectively implement the legislation in force and the bilateral agreements applicable to settlement products.

 

Madagascar – Presidential elections

Can you confirm that France has suspended the visas of Andry Rajoelina and his wife as well as the other candidates in the presidential elections, Lalao Ravalomanana and Didier Ratsiraka?

France is following the most recent political developments in Madagascar with concern and disappointment.

It urges Ms. Ravalomanana, Mr. Rajoelina and Mr. Ratsiraka to follow the recommendations made at the highest level by the SADC and the African Union, and to therefore withdraw their candidacies from the presidential elections.

Like the SADC and the African Union, France will not recognize the election results if these 3 candidates insist on running in the elections.

France will be represented at the meeting in Addis Ababa, on June 26, of the International Contact Group on Madagascar, during which ways to address the current deadlock in Madagascar will be examined. France calls on Madagascar’s politicians to take urgent action, in the best interests of Madagascar and its people.

In the meantime, France does not intend to allow those responsible for the stalemate in the process to resolve the crisis in Madagascar to enter its territory.