Q. – What is France’s exact analysis of the role of Yemen and Iran?
THE MINISTER – We supported the resolution presented at the United Nations, we said we supported the coalition’s initiative and we said we remained ready and willing to encourage a political solution, because there again – and it’s also a big lesson that must be learned from a whole series of conflicts that have been going on for the past 10 years –, you can’t resolve problems from the outside. Sometimes force is necessary, it’s true, but when it’s a question of a conflict taking place on the ground, it can ultimately be resolved only by the inhabitants themselves, if necessary with the help of international negotiation; we may get back to Iraq, but that’s the big lesson from Iraq.
On Yemen, we’re not intervening in the conflict ourselves, but you’re aware of our analysis. On the one hand, there’s the very significant influence of Saleh and the legitimate authority of President Hadi – who has alongside him his prime minister –, which is also that of the vice-president; there’s al-Qaeda and also what I’d call outside elements. Our aim is for the legitimate authority to be restored, for stability to be restored and for a political solution to be found. We’re working in this spirit, but we don’t want to intervene militarily in the conflict.
In my discussions with the Saudis, there’s clearly the context of Iran’s proximity – it was confirmed to me – and they’re very sensitive to the precise geographical fact that Yemen’s border is located exactly 450 kilometres from Mecca. All this combines to create to a situation which, for them and for the Emirates in particular, is worrying. They told me it was in this spirit that they intervened; I told them that France – like other countries, incidentally, because we talked about it only yesterday at the G7 – is ready and willing to encourage a solution, without intervening directly, of course.