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Côte d’Ivoire elections/Wikileaks

Published on December 2, 2010
Interview with the Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Michèle Alliot-Marie, on Europe 1 radio (excerpts)

Paris, December 1, 2010

COTE D’IVOIRE ELECTIONS

(…)

Q – Ms Alliot-Marie, can you confirm the defeat of the outgoing, unelected president, Laurent Gbagbo, in Côte d’Ivoire ?

THE MINISTER – It’s certainly not for me to say what the results are in Côte d’Ivoire. There’s an Independent Electoral Commission and I’d like to stress, too, that it does a remarkable job.

Q – And the difficulties it has in doing it…

THE MINISTER – The results must be published today. The plan was already that the results had to be published within three days.

Publication must therefore take place today. What I honestly hope is that Côte d’Ivoire, which has always been a model of democracy in Africa, will actually preserve and indeed revive that image.

Q – France and the African countries are demanding the publication of the results, that’s obvious, but are they also demanding respect for the decision that emerges from the ballot boxes?

THE MINISTER – That’s obvious in a democracy; democracy is respecting the will of the people as expressed through the vote.

Q – There are about 15,000 French nationals in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. They’re apparently worried about the risk of fresh tension. Can you tell them anything this morning to reassure them?

THE MINISTER – For the moment, we have no major reason to be worried. There’s no direct threat hanging over them. However – and it’s also our responsibility and my responsibility as foreign minister – we are indeed on the alert. If there were the slightest risk, we are in a position, through the embassy but also through the French forces stationed nearby in the framework of the UN, to intervene to protect individuals.

(…)

WIKILEAKS

Q – Turning to Wikileaks : did Hillary Clinton – who was embarrassed, it seems – warn you?

THE MINISTER – Yes, absolutely: I had a telephone conversation with Hillary Clinton at the end of last week. I think it was on Friday, just before I left for the Tripoli summit.

Q – What did she do? Does she show any regrets?

THE MINISTER – She feels very bad about it. I expressed to her our solidarity on the subject. What’s happened is completely irresponsible. It’s an attack on the sovereignty of States. It’s also a breach of the necessary confidentiality of certain communications. It weakens international relations and may, furthermore, put a number of people in danger. It’s not just a matter of reports which may amuse the press, about the relationships between this person and that person: you have to realize that, in certain countries, the disclosure of these documents may have very direct consequences for the people whose remarks are revealed in this way.

(…)

Q – Does that mean diplomats will have to hold their tongues, even if they want to speak bluntly, and are there still - or will there still be - diplomatic secrets? Or do you have to live with the idea that everything’s under surveillance, monitored?

THE MINISTER – Hold on. I don’t think we should enter the realm of fantasy, either. The diplomatic world isn’t a world of petty secrets. The diplomatic world is a world in which you try to move forward to resolve conflicts, to avoid conflicts, to ensure that the world being created under our eyes - which undergoes considerable changes and faces a number of threats – can move forward with as little damage as possible to countries and people.

(…) ./.

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