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MDG summit – Israel/Palestine

Published on September 23, 2010
Interview given by Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to “Radio France Internationale” (excerpts)

New York, September 20, 2010



Q. – (…) The Millennium Goals summit is being held in New York this week. Clearly these goals are very difficult to achieve, ODA probably isn’t enough. Do you sense that there’s precisely a desire to provide alternative financing to try and meet these goals or do you think it’s a pious wish to believe these goals will be met by 2015?

THE MINISTER – By 2015, quite honestly I don’t know. But you’re absolutely right, ODA won’t be enough. We have to start by convincing people of the legitimacy of the goals we’re pursuing, i.e. innovative financing, particularly the tax – or at any rate, the contribution, if the word “tax” frightens them off – on capital flows, on every financial transaction. We’re working on this – I personally have been doing so for 20 years; progress is being made. Today, the Leading Group [on Innovative Financing for Development] had a meeting; the document is ready for tomorrow. In the General Assembly President Sarkozy spoke very strongly about the Millennium Goals saying, “we won’t meet them if we don’t get down to the job”.

I think we’ll succeed. As President Sarkozy said this morning, it’s going to be difficult but we’ll perhaps be able – in any case all the NGOs want this – to get the ball rolling with several countries without waiting for everyone to agree.

It’s difficult but we are going to do it. (…) Japan now holds the Leading Group’s presidency. There’s a text, but there are a lot of texts and reports. Everyone agrees on the need for financing. I’d like it to come from a contribution on financial transactions. You send €1,000 from one end of France to the other or one end of the world to the other at a cost of 5 euro-cents – which you won’t notice. A small 5 euro-cent coin compared with €1,000, that’s what we must get if we want to develop the third world.


Q. – New York is also an important diplomatic stage, there’s obviously going to be discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. You expressed your regret at the absence of European representation when the Israeli-Palestinian talks were resumed in Washington. Is Europe doomed to be only a donor?

THE MINISTER – I hope not; Europe is getting a bit weary of being regarded primarily as a donor. Yes, we made it very clear that we regretted the European Union not being represented in Washington.

We are the largest supplier of aid to the Palestinian Authority: €1 billion every year. I think that merited a place at the table. Everyone regretted our absence, everyone regretted Dmitri Medvedev’s as well, particularly as the Russians were wholly cooperative in this matter, as in fact were the Arab countries. We regret that this happened, but today, above all, we very much hope that these direct talks will lead to what is the goal of all of us, i.e. a Palestinian State. (…)./.

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