Paris on September 18 2008
ISRAEL/LIVNI/MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
Q. – A word on Tzipi Livni, she’s just been elected [leader of Israel’s ruling Kadima party] and may be Israel’s next prime minister. What’s your message to her today?
THE MINISTER – Firstly, I applaud her. It’s a narrow victory, but a victory. It’s important for us because, with Tzipi Livni, it’s possible to pursue what’s left of the peace process. This would have been far more difficult with her opponent. It’s very important for there to be contacts between the Israelis and Palestinians. I remind you that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has taken part in all the discussions with the chief Palestinian negotiator, Mr Abu Ala. So I believe it’s a victory which could well – this is important and a good thing – lead towards peace.
Q. – You say "just a bit more effort" to Moscow, which is keeping troops in Georgia and yesterday signed military agreements with the separatist republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia?
THE MINISTER – I’m not saying that, I’m making it very clear that Moscow has to honour its word and that the six points of the agreement signed by President Medvedev, President Saakashvili and President Sarkozy must be complied with. Let me remind you of them: first of all, the troops’ withdrawal from the territory…
Q. – Not all the six points…
THE MINISTER – …no, not all the six points. I’m going fast through this but it’s important. The troops have partially withdrawn. Before 1 October we are to send European observers there. The Russian troops will have completely pulled out and, theoretically, during October, there will no longer be a single Russian soldier on Georgian territory.
As for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, we have to resolve the problem politically. This means that starting on 15 October discussions will take place at international level, very probably in Geneva. (…)./.
Translation by French Embassy in the United Kingdom.