Paris, 21 mai 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 21 May 2012) :
Yemen – Attack against a military unit
France utterly condemns the attack which targeted a military unit in Sana’a today and which left dozens of people dead and injured many others.
We extend our condolences to the bereaved and express our solidarity with the Yemeni authorities in their fight against terrorism.
In these tragic circumstances, France reaffirms its full support for the efforts of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to pursue in Yemen a political transition process that is consistent with the aspirations of the Yemeni people.
Syria – Continued violence and attack on a UNSMIS (United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria) convoy
France utterly condemns Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s ongoing pursuit of the bloody crackdown. We especially denounce the bombing of the town of Souran in Hama region, which killed more than 30 people yesterday and the explosions near the convoy of the head of the observer mission, General Mood, and Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.
We pay tribute to the courage and composure demonstrated by UNSMIS which we support in the fulfillment of its extremely difficult mission. More than ever, the international community must stand alongside the peacekeepers so that the Annan plan can be effectively implemented. The daily violations of the ceasefire are intolerable and must stop. We’re receiving daily reports indicating that the regime is continuing to conduct arrests and torture. The next report based on the conclusions presented by UNSMIS at the Security Council will, in these tragic circumstances, be of particular importance
The events of the last few days in Syria and Lebanon again demonstrate the fact that the deterioration of the situation in Syria poses a threat to the region. The continuation of the crackdown poses a threat to regional security. The implementation of a democratic transition that responds to the aspirations of the Syrian people is in everyone’s interests.
Lebanon – Violence in northern Lebanon and in Beirut
France deplores the armed attack which killed the religious leaders, Ahmed Mohammad Abdel Wahed and Mohammad Hussein Merheb on May 20. Full light must be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy. We extend our condolences to the families of both victims.
France condemns the incidents that left two people dead and many injured in Beirut last night.
We commend the response by the Lebanese authorities which immediately initiated an investigation and the statements by the President of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Najib Mikati, calling for the restoration of calm.
We also take note of the numerous messages of support for Lebanon’s security institutions from many political leaders.
France reaffirms that the Lebanese armed forces have an essential role to play in ensuring the country’s unity and security.
Given the tense situation, we urge all parties to refrain from provocation. Tensions can only be eased through dialogue.
International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22, 2012)
Tomorrow is “International Day for Biological Diversity,” which commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity on May 22, 1992.
This year, the Convention will celebrate its 20th anniversary on the occasion of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio + 20” (June 20 to 22).
The Convention on Biological Diversity now brings together 193 States. It has 3 key objectives :
the conservation of biological diversity ;
the sustainable use of its components ;
access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their utilization.
France has ratified the major international conventions on biodiversity. It is unfailingly committed to international cooperation on biodiversity :
France hosted, from May 14 to 18, 2012, in La Rochelle, the 5th Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) ;
it will participate in the 11th meeting of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands which will take place from July 6 to 13, 2012, in Bucharest (Romania) ;
it will attend the next World Conservation Congress organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which will take place in Jeju (Republic of Korea) from September 6 to 15, 2012 ;
lastly, it is actively preparing for the major events of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 6th Conference of the Parties to its Protocol known as the “Cartagena Protocol” on Biosafety ; both events will take place in India in October 2012.
Elections in Serbia
What is France’s response to the elections in Serbia ?
The presidential elections in Serbia took place yesterday. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic won these elections.
We commend the successful organization of the elections on May 6 and 20. The OSCE effectively contributed to the smooth running of these elections, as it did so during the first round.
We now expect the new president of the Serbian Republic and the government that he will form to actually continue on the path toward rapprochement between Serbia and the European Union : this means continuing internal reforms such as the dialogue initiated with Kosovo.
We also expect Serbia to continue the process of reconciliation with its neighbors introduced in the last few years which should be seen through to completion.