Paris, April 19, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 19th April 2012) :
Sudan/ South Sudan
France is deeply concerned by the escalation of violence at the border between the two States. We renew our appeals for the immediate cessation of hostilities, for the unconditional withdrawal of the South Sudanese troops from Heglig and for an end to the bombing by the Sudanese air force. We encourage the two States to demonstrate the utmost restraint and to do everything possible to ease tensions.
The border dispute between the two States cannot be settled through military operations but by a political negotiation based on respect for each State’s territorial integrity and their international commitments.
France supports any initiative aimed at restarting dialogue between the two States. They must urgently return to the negotiation table under the auspices of the African Union and implement the cooperation and non-aggression agreement signed on February 12, 2012, in Addis Ababa.
Iraq – Attacks
France utterly condemns the attacks perpetrated this morning in Baghdad and in northern and western Iraq, which principally targeted members of the government and the security forces, and which killed several dozen people and injured around 100.
It extends its condolences to the Iraqi people and to the families of the victims and expresses its solidarity with the Iraqi authorities in their fight against terrorism.
In this context, France reaffirms that the Iraqi leaders must work together in order to respond to the challenges posed by the violence and to the expectations of the Iraqi people.
France stands alongside Iraq and reaffirms its full support for the Iraqi institutions in their efforts to promote stability and security.
In Guinea Bissau, the junta and certain political parties have signed an agreement establishing a two-year transition. What is France’s response, given that the AU and ECOWAS have already rejected this agreement ?
We condemned the coup d’état carried out by Guinea Bissau’s armed forces and called for the immediate restoration of constitutional order, for respect for the physical integrity of the prisoners and for their immediate release. We stand by these demands and encourage the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) to work together in order to jointly define, together with Guinea Bissau’s stakeholders, a process to resolve the crisis that will respect constitutional order. In this respect, the agreement to which you’re referring achieves nothing.
The Ministre d’Etat spoke this morning with his Portuguese counterpart, Mr. Paulo Porta, about the situation in Guinea Bissau. They both agreed that it was essential that the process to resolve the crisis be the result of coordinated action by all regional actors concerned, in particular the AU, ECOWAS and the CPLP.
Could you clarify if Russia and China have been invited to the ministerial meeting devoted to the situation in Syria at the Quai d’Orsay this evening ?
Russia and China have indeed been invited to the ministerial meeting on Syria which will take place this evening in Paris. They are partners of France. We are keen to involve in our discussions all those who want to ensure that the Annan plan succeeds.
Moscow, like Beijing, indicated that it wouldn’t be able to participate in the meeting