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Published on February 25, 2011
Statement by Michèle Alliot-Marie, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

Brasilia, February 22, 2011

I’m not in the habit of replying to newspaper articles or columns, especially when I’m abroad and when the article is anonymous.

I should nonetheless like to make a few comments.

Diplomats are highly skilled professionals who work with great dedication to serve our country.

They are aware of the complicated challenges in international relations.
We have one of the best established and most active diplomatic networks on the planet.

My ambition today is to make the Quai d’Orsay the modern tool of effective foreign policy – a foreign policy serving the ambitions of our country – by means of a two-pronged effort:

- to make this ministry a more effective tool to assist the President of the Republic and the government in their decision-making by considerably improving its early-warning and forward-planning capabilities. This isn’t a criticism, it’s an obligation.

- to make the Quai d’Orsay a global centre of influence through, inter alia, its higher education establishments and a modern concept of Francophony.

The diplomatic tool must be improved and strengthened.

This is how, in the years to come, France will be able to play a key role on the economic, political, cultural, scientific and academic fronts.

In order to improve and strengthen the diplomatic tool, we must simplify and speed up the transmission of information and work better as a network.

We must open up further the recruitment of our diplomats, improve training, be more active on the ground and talk to the governments of foreign countries, but listen more to civil society, voluntary groups, NGOs and human rights defenders.

Diplomats – and ambassadors, as the highest-ranking of them – are the image of France. I clearly have total confidence in them. They know perfectly well that modernization is an obligation for the government. I know they want this modernization.

Nicolas Sarkozy is President of the Republic. He is the voice of France.
Whether it be in the European Union framework, at the UN, the G8, the G20, in Africa or the Middle East, the foreign policy conducted by President Sarkozy is clear, ambitious, courageous and effective.

Remember Georgia in 2008; remember the start of the financial crisis. Where would be today without those initiatives by the President?

Nicolas Sarkozy is loyal to our country’s values and France maintains her position thanks to him./.

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