Visit to the United States of America
Washington, June 6, 2011
THE MINISTER – Thank you very much, Madam Secretary of State, for your kind words and very warm welcome. We have just had an excellent meeting. We have met on many occasions since my recent appointment, during contact group meetings on Libya, for example, or the OECD ministerial meeting in Paris. Today we have deepened this permanent dialogue on the most pressing issues of the moment, namely Libya, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan. On all those issues, we share the same views and we are implementing the same actions.
I also briefed the Secretary of State on my recent visit in the Middle East and our efforts to get the peace process moving. We had, on this issue, a comprehensive and in-depth exchange, and we agreed to work closely together and with the Palestinians and Israelians. This was a very productive discussion and further proof that France and the United States hold close views on the international situation. Our partnership and friendship are stronger than ever.
Today is no ordinary day for the French and the American people. As you said, Madam Secretary, 67 years ago, on 6 June 1944, thousands of young American men lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy, on the first day of the campaign to liberate my country. We will never forget those who shed their blood on D-Day. As we speak, American and French soldiers are fighting side by side in Afghanistan. My thoughts go to them also. In a few hours, I will be at the Second World War Memorial to present the Légion d’Honneur, the most prestigious award in France, to three American veterans. And for me it will be a very important moment.
Well, thank you again. And we’ll see each other again in Abu Dhabi in a few days to discuss more specifically Libya and maybe other issues.
Thank you very much.
Q. – (on Middle East cooperation and France’s efforts on a Middle East peace process conference)
THE MINISTER – Yes, on the Middle East, why are we trying to further our initiative? Our main concern is what would – will – happen in September. We have the feeling that if nothing happens before September, the situation will be very difficult for everybody, when the General Assembly discusses a resolution about the Palestinian state. It won’t be easy for us Europeans, for the Palestinians and Israelis, and the only way to avoid such a situation is to boost or encourage a resumption of the negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis. And that’s what we are trying to do. I presented in Ramallah, then Jerusalem, a kind of platform of parameters for negotiation. The Palestinians reacted very positively. The Israelis are reflecting on this proposal. We discussed it all together and we agreed to continue our dialogue and cooperate as closely as possible.
As you may have noticed, there’s agreement between the US and France. There is also perfect agreement between Madam Secretary and me. And we have to convince the Palestinians that, indeed, a status quo between the two parties is not the right solution – it’s no solution at all – that it is not a good idea to try to go through the United Nations to get this resolution. And we have to convince both parties of this.
When I went to the Middle East, I didn’t expect an immediately enthusiastic welcome from all the parties. I was rather pleasantly surprised, because the Palestinians were satisfied with what I said.
The Israelis didn’t say no, and Madam Secretary told me to wait and see.
So we agreed to go on with our work. We haven’t yet invited anyone to the conference in Paris. So it isn’t a question of who is and who isn’t coming. And we’ll organize this conference only if sufficient work is done so that it is well prepared.
As for the rest, it is way too early to talk about it. We’ll see in September, and then we’ll see if we take a decision. Thank you./.