Paris, April 11, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 11 April 2012)
Libya – Attack on the convoy carrying the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative
France condemns the attack which targeted the convoy carrying the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Mr. Ian Martin, yesterday in Benghazi in Libya.
France reaffirms its full support for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) which, under UNSCR 2040, plays a key role in supporting the Libyan authorities in the transition process that has been under way since the fall of the Qaddafi regime.
France also reaffirms its support for the National Transitional Council and the interim government in their efforts to re-establish the rule of law throughout the territory.
We reaffirm that the UN is intervening at the request of the Libyan authorities. We would like these authorities to take all necessary measures to shed light on the circumstances of this attack and to guarantee the safety of UNSMIL operations.
Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan
France is deeply concerned by the rapid deterioration in relations between Sudan and South Sudan and the escalation of violence currently unfolding : the bombing by the Sudanese air force of a village in South Sudan ; the South Sudanese army’s capture of the town of Heglig in Sudanese territory.
France urges the parties to immediately pull back across their borders and to resolve their disputes through negotiation, while respecting each other’s territorial integrity, and to put an end to any action aimed at destabilizing the neighboring State. It reminds the authorities of both countries of their recent statements in support of the principles based on mutual interest and good-neighborliness between the two States.
The implementation of the agreements of June 29 and July 31, 2011, on the establishment of a demilitarized and internationally monitored border area, as well as the cooperation and non-aggression agreement of February 10, 2012, must be urgently pursued in order to achieve a political settlement of the current tensions.
France encourages the parties to resume, as swiftly as possible, the negotiations conducted under the auspices of the African Union High-level Panel in Addis Ababa. It lends its full support to the African Union and to the efforts of Mr. Thabo Mbeki.
“Croisements” [cultural exchanges] festival in China (April – June 2012)
Today, France will launch the 6th Franco-Chinese “Croisements” Cultural Festival in China. Initiated in 2006 as a result of the joint determination of the French and Chinese authorities to continue the momentum given to Franco-Chinese cultural exchanges by the “Années Croisées” [Exchange Program] (2004-2005), the “Croisements” festival, which is a major Franco-Chinese cultural cooperation event, will this year offer 134 events in 24 major cities in China, ranging from dance to theater, cinema, music and exhibitions.
Jointly organized by the Embassy of France to China and the Institut Français, in association with the Alliances françaises de Chine and Unifrance Films, and with the support of its public and private partners (institutions, theaters, businesses), the 2012 festival program will include innovative projects such as contemporary circuses, contemporary dance, and new stage productions. Faithful to its original purpose, the “Croisements” festival will also highlight joint Franco-Chinese artistic productions, such as the stage production by Yamina Hachemi, who was invited by the National Theater of China to produce a Chinese-language version of Victor Hugo’s “The Man Who Laughs.”
The festival will continue to support major events in the Chinese art scene, such