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France/Romania - Guinea-Bissau – Iran – Israel – Madagascar

Published on June 11, 2013
Press briefing given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman (excerpts)

Paris, June 10, 2013

Meetings between M. Laurent Fabius, M. Thierry Repentin and the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs (Paris, 11 June 2013)

M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and M. Thierry Repentin, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, will have meetings [in Paris] on 11 June with Mr Titus Corlăţean, Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

These meetings fall within the framework of close bilateral relations and follow on from the meeting between the two prime ministers in Paris on 21 February, during which the new road map for the French-Romanian strategic partnership was signed.

The ministers will discuss current European issues, particularly the implementation of banking union, the strengthening of Economic and Monetary Union and the negotiations on the European budget for the period 2014-2020.

M. Fabius and Mr Corlăţean will also discuss the situation in Syria and Mali. They will also talk about the prospects for bilateral economic cooperation, particularly in the areas of transport, energy and infrastructure.

Guinea-Bissau – Formation of a national unity government

France welcomes the appointment of the new national unity government led by Prime Minister Rui Duarte de Barros.

This is an important step in the transition and stabilization process in Guinea-Bissau since the coup d’état on 12 April 2012.

In accordance with the decisions of the Economic Community of West African States, this government should very swiftly lead the country toward parliamentary and presidential elections by the end of the year.

France encourages the stakeholders to do everything possible to ensure that the country is able to complete its transition peacefully. She reaffirms the importance of the security sector reforms, including the fight against drug trafficking, the fight against impunity and respect for human rights, prerequisites for Guinea-Bissau’s long-term stability in its regional environment.

Iran – Arak facility

Q. – Regarding Iran, what’s your response to the most recent developments at the Iranian heavy water facility in Arak? Are you satisfied by the “guarantees” provided by Tehran with respect to the IAEA’s access to this site and Iran’s statements regarding the final purpose of the programme in Arak?

THE SPOKESMAN – The resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors demand the suspension of all Iranian heavy water-related activities. The installation of the reactor vessel, if it were to be confirmed by the IAEA, would constitute a further breach by Iran of its obligations and an additional provocation.

The construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak is extremely troubling and will allow Iran, once the reactor is operational, to produce plutonium. As the IAEA Director General reaffirmed in his report of 22 May, Iranian cooperation with the agency has long been woefully inadequate with respect to the heavy water reactor in Arak. Since 2006 Iran has refused to provide up-to-date information on the design of the reactor. She has also prevented any access to the heavy water production plant for more than two years.

Despite her assertions, Iran is therefore still failing to provide any evidence that her nuclear activities – heavy water-related activities as well as uranium enrichment activities – only have a civilian purpose.

We call on Iran to heed the message of unity and firmness regarding her failure to uphold her obligations delivered last week in Vienna at the IAEA by the E3+3 group (France, Germany, the UK, the United States, Russia and China). Otherwise, diplomatic pressure on Iran will continue to increase. (…)


Q. – Regarding Israel, the NGO Peace Now reports that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are at their highest level in seven years and that in the first quarter of 2013 the number of housing starts tripled compared to the previous quarter. The NGO gives the Israeli government’s official figures.

What is the status of the policy aimed at convincing Israel that settlement activity is contrary to the peace process? Apart from the statements and the expressions of disapproval, how do you think you can convince the Israeli government of the merits of your position? What’s happening at the European level on this issue, which everyone seems to see as the major obstacle to peace and to the two-state solution, whilst not forgetting the issue of international law, which is continuously being flouted?

THE SPOKESMAN – We’re very concerned by the developments referred to in the report that you mention. The new construction projects observed at the beginning of the year are largely the result of the approvals granted at the end of 2012, which we condemned.

Our position on settlement activity is well known: we believe that it is indeed illegal under international law, that it undermines the trust necessary for the resumption of dialogue and that it constitutes an obstacle to a just peace based on the two-state solution.

I reaffirm that the EU Foreign Affairs Council signalled in May and December 2012 our determination to fully and effectively implement the legislation in force and the bilateral agreements applicable to settlement products.

Madagascar – Presidential elections

Q. – Can you confirm that France has suspended the visas of Andry Rajoelina and his wife as well as the other candidates in the presidential elections, Lalao Ravalomanana and Didier Ratsiraka?

THE SPOKESMAN – France is following the most recent political developments in Madagascar with concern and disappointment.

She urges Ms Ravalomanana, Mr Rajoelina and Mr Ratsiraka to follow the recommendations made at the highest level by the SADC and the African Union, and to therefore withdraw their candidacies from the forthcoming presidential elections.

Like the SADC and the African Union, France will not recognize the election results if these three candidates insist on running in the elections.

France will be represented at the meeting in Addis Ababa, on 26 June, of the International Contact Group on Madagascar, during which ways to address the current deadlock in Madagascar will be examined. France calls on Madagascar’s politicians to take urgent action, in the best interests of Madagascar and her people.

In the meantime, France does not intend to allow those responsible for the stalemate in the crisis resolution process in Madagascar to enter her territory. /.

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