|We reproduce here exceptionally the press meeting of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs . The questions of the journalists are in bracket.|
|POINT OF PRESS OF May 31, 2002
The minister will discuss Monday June 3 at 11H00 with Mr. Amr Moussa, Secretary-general of the Arab League. The situation in the Middle East will be obviously evoked. France supports the efforts of the Arab League for a fair and durable settlement of the Israélo-Arab conflict, which constitutes also one of the priorities of its diplomatic action.
Other subjects concerning the Arab League could be also discussed, such as Iraq. We maintain a close dialogue with Mr. Moussa. This meeting should be followed by a point of press at 11h30.
The Minister will discuss Monday June 3, at 18h00, with Mr. Ghassan Salame, Lebanese Ministre for the culture and the francophonie. At this occasion, they will evoke the organization of the Summit of the francophonie which will be held in Beirut from the 18 to October 20. For the moment, there is no forecated point of press .''
(So, francophonie, that's it?)
It is really a very targeted meeting on the organization of the Summit of the francophonie in Beirut. You know how much it is significant, you know the circumstances in which this summit had been deferred, this is the subject of meeting.
(Why did it take so long for France to take part in the preparation of this summit? The Canadians preceded you, and other countries. Is this due to the elections in France?)
I do not have a particular comment, especially if you make the questions and the answers. But I do not think that France is particularly delayed, I'd rather say than others can be in advance.
(doesn't Mr. de Villepin want to discuss with Mr. Salame the question the Middle East?)
I said that on this occasion, they will evoke the organization of the Summit of the francophonie which will be held in Beirut from the 18 to October 20, obviously that does not prohibit them to speak about other subjects. It would be even astonishing that they do not speak about it. I only said what would be the principal topic of the meeting. Mr. Ghassan Salame is an old friend of France, there is no subject we are not happy to tackle with him.
(How do you see the calls to Iraq to cooperate with UN, and at the same time the repeated calls of the American authorities to overthrow the Iraqi government?)
We do not comment the calls of the others. We concentrate on our own message. This one is clear, Iraq must cooperate fully with the United Nations, particularly with regard to the return of the inspectors, which must be carried out in the conditions fixed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, without delay, obstacle and efficiently.
(you do not think that there is a contradiction between these two positions: to call for the co-operation and, at the same time, as the United States do, call to overthrow the Iraqi government?)
I don't have to react on this point. Once again, we are firm on the message which we intend to repeat, as the President of the Republic had the occasion to state it: Iraq would be quite advised to let the inspectors come.
(do you Have a comment on the Israeli incursions?)
I would like on this occasion to point out the constant position of France. The stop of the incursions of the Israeli army into the Palestinian territories is necessary because these incursions maintain a climate of tension and violence which affects the appeasing essential to the resumption of the dialogue. That also implies, position constant too, the lifting of new blocking measures of the Palestinian localities whose consequences, for the future, are dangerous. In parallel, that implies from the Palestinian Authority all the effort against terrorism. The reform of the Palestinian Authority, the diplomatic efforts made by the United States, the European Union, the Arab countries, the efforts of all those who seek peace, are most welcome: because these efforts maintain the hope to see, finally, a dialogue process to start again between the parties, on the political aspects, the economic aspects, the security aspects. They should be continued without slackening.''
(Why are these blocking measures dangerous ?)
Dangerous for the future of peace.
(But not for safety?)
I said dangerous for the future of peace. I did not say for safety.
Marseille,05 31 2002