Q. – I get the impression that deep down, beyond the condemnation of the coup in Mali and the call for a return to democratic legality, France isn’t really shedding any tears for President Amadou Toumani Touré.
THE MINISTER – Your impression can’t really reflect the reality, because from the outset France – like the whole international community, by the way – utterly condemned this putsch. We believe today there’s no way the putschists are going to settle into power or name a government.
That’s why, once again, along with the broad majority of the international community, we’re pressing for an immediate return to constitutional order. We’re putting great hope in the firm statements to be made by the heads of state and government, meeting in Abidjan tomorrow for the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] summit, in the presence of the African Union Chairperson and the neighbouring countries, specifically Algeria.
Q. – And yet the French Ambassador to Mali has already met the spokesman of the junta, apparently. That’s quite quick.
THE MINISTER – It’s entirely natural for the French Ambassador to have taken this step. He did so at the French authorities’ request, precisely to tell Captain Sanogo and the people around him what France’s vision is and what France’s demands are. This was done very clearly. Our ambassador expressed the government’s position, and Captain Sanogo noted it, basically without responding. (…)./.