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Visit to Russia

Published on September 9, 2011
Statements by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, at his joint press conference with Gérard Longuet, Minister for Defence and Veterans, Sergei Lavrov, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Anatoly Serdyukov, Russian Minister of Defence (excerpts)

Moscow, September 7 , 2011

(…)

RUSSIA/G8/G20/NATO

Beyond the bilateral relationship, we discussed global issues and noted that, here too, we agree on many subjects.

I’d like to mention the G8 summit in Deauville, which was a great success, thanks in particular to President Medvedev. We’re going to continue our efforts to ensure that the G8 commitments are honoured, particularly the Deauville Partnership: i.e. the aid we’re going to provide to those southern Mediterranean countries undergoing a democratic transition – Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan. Concrete decisions will be taken, we hope, in September.

We also talked about preparations for the G20 summit in Cannes at the beginning of November. Russia will be one of the major players at this G20 meeting, particularly in the debate on the stabilization of commodity prices – where President Medvedev is strongly committed personally – and the reform of the international monetary system and International Monetary Fund.

We also discussed relations between Russia, NATO and Europe. We completely agree about continuing to work on the idea – floated by our presidents – of a common Euro-Atlantic security area. More specifically, we mentioned the NATO-Russia relationship and agreed that the hope, born in Lisbon, of fruitful cooperation between NATO and Russia – particularly in a shared anti-missile defence system – mustn’t be dashed. We understand Russia’s concerns on the matter very well. We entirely share some of them, particularly the need to show clearly that anti-missile defence isn’t a substitute for nuclear deterrence and to give Russia sufficient safeguards. Of course, it would be absurd to imagine this anti-missile defence could be directed against Russia. Russia is our partner, and this must all be made clear. France will see to that, in consultation with Russia. (…)
Finally, a word – I don’t want to go on too long – about certain international crises we discussed. We did so, as usual, in a friendly but frank manner, noting that we didn’t agree about everything.

LIBYA

Regarding Libya, we’d spoken at length on the subject during my visit here in July; we didn’t share the same vision of the operation’s military phase. Let’s not go back over that, because it’s about to end.
By contrast, we’re now determined to work together to enable the Libyan people to build a democratic and prosperous Libya. In this respect, we were happy to welcome Russia to the Friends of Libya conference on 1 September in Paris, where President Medvedev was represented by Mikhail Margelov, and we’re going to continue working together, particularly with the United Nations, which has an essential role to play in this reconstruction phase.

SYRIA

As for Syria, our assessments differ. We don’t think you can equate the demonstrations by the Syrian people, who aspire to more freedom and democracy, with the crackdown being carried out by the regime, which is totally disproportionate and is leading to absolutely unacceptable bloodshed. That’s why we think the Security Council must send a strong message to ensure this brutal repression ends. We’re ready to discuss this with Russia at the Security Council, even if our viewpoints aren’t currently the same.

IRAN

With regard to Iran, we have the same concern: to do everything to ensure Iran doesn’t obtain a nuclear weapon, because this would clearly be an extraordinarily dangerous and destabilizing situation for the whole region. So we must send strong messages to Iran, and do so together. We’re very committed to the unity of the Group of Six that’s been created: three European countries, plus Russia, the United States and China. We’re anxious to work together.

MIDDLE EAST

Finally, on the Middle East, we had corresponding views. We think only a resumption of negotiations between the two parties – the Israelis and Palestinians – will enable a stable solution with recognition of the Palestinian state to be achieved. Our aim is very clear, and it’s that of the Europeans and also the Quartet: two nation-states for two peoples. You can achieve this only through negotiation, not through confrontation. There too, we’ll try and work together towards this.

There. It’s not an exhaustive list, we talked about many other subjects, but I wanted to stick to the main ones, and once again I’m very pleased our relations are so good. (…)./.

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