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Published on December 3, 2007
Interview given by M. Bernard Kouchner, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to the "LBCI" television channel, (excerpts)

Beirut, November 22, 2007


Q. - Would you, again, be ready to give another initiative a try or to relaunch what you’ve put forward so far: the French initiative with the list presented by the Patriarch? What’s going to happen in your view?

THE MINISTER - We - the Spanish and Italian foreign ministers and I - said we’d always be at their [the Lebanese] disposal if we thought we could do something. You know, spending one’s time here is very pleasant, but it has to be useful. There comes a point when it’s no longer very useful when there’s considerable deadlock. If afterwards we’re asked to come and contribute, if we can do so, if we think it’s useful and that we have the means to end the deadlock, we’ll very willingly get involved.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think the way M. Aoun issued his ultimatum seems to me difficult to accept. That’s my feeling but, at the same time, there’s an opening. We’ll see how "14 March” responds and we’re listening once again to our friends, to all the Lebanese people. I’d like the situation not to become too strained (…) and I believe that if we want - it’s our wish - to maintain all our friendships, we’ll have to bring the threads of dialogue back together. But at some point we’ve got to leave. And that’s how there can be a return to better conditions.

Q. - You experienced a difficult situation here in 1988 and 1990, and in a very small way the same sort of crisis. Do you think we’re currently in the same situation, if you compare both times?

THE MINISTER - No, I don’t think so. There’ll be tensions, maybe difficulties and incidents, displays of support looking far more like demonstrations. There were massive demonstrations in Lebanon which gained the whole world’s admiration. Those were without doubt necessary democratic demonstrations. But I don’t think the situation will be repeated with as much violence as before. At any rate, I hope not./.

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