Paris, April 24, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 24th April 2012) :
Myanmar/ Burma – EU Foreign Affairs Council
In order to respond to the transition initiated by President Thein Sein, the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which met yesterday in Luxembourg, decided to suspend the restrictive measures against Burma, with the exception of the arms embargo.
This decision was adopted for a period of one year. On the expiry of this deadline the sanctions regime will be lifted, unless an explicit decision is made to the contrary by the Council. Between now and April 2013, the Council is free to reinstate the sanctions or to lift them in advance, depending on developments in the situation in Burma.
We remain particularly attentive to the problems that continue to exist : the detention of a certain number of political prisoners and the ongoing clashes between the army and the Kachin minority in particular ; we would like to see positive developments regarding all these issues.
NLD parliamentarians would like to see guarantees with respect to the scope of the constitutional process and consequently did not participate in the opening session of parliament.
We have taken note of the statements made by President Thein Sein to the press. NLD representatives must be able to participate in parliamentary work and be assured that the process will be pursued to the fullest extent possible. Of course, it’s up to the Burmese people to swiftly resolve this issue.
Israeli decision to retroactively legalize three settlements
For the first time since the Oslo Accords, the Israeli authorities have legalized three new settlements in the West Bank. France condemns this purported legalization which sends a very negative signal, which is contrary to the interests of peace in the region.
France reaffirms that, like its international partners, it considers all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem to be illegal and an obstacle to peace. The outposts must be dismantled in accordance with Israel’s obligations under the road map.
Destruction of two cisterns in the West Bank by Israel
France objects to the destruction on April 23 by the Israeli army of two cisterns funded by France within the framework of an agricultural cooperation project being implemented in the Hebron region in the West Bank. This humanitarian-focused project aims to improve water management and develop the agricultural areas in the interests of the Palestinian populations there.
France calls on the Israeli authorities to stop destroying property and humanitarian infrastructure in zone C, as stipulated by international humanitarian law. It reaffirms that zone C is destined to be part of the future Palestinian State, subject to adjustments to be mutually agreed upon within the framework of a peace agreement.
Protests have been lodged today with Israel’s Ambassador to France, as well as with the Israeli authorities in the region.
France welcomes the progress achieved in recent months with respect to the peace process in Nepal, notably with respect to the issue relating to the integration of the former Maoist guerrilla combatants. This progress is an extremely positive step for the future of the country.
The completion of all components of the process (reintegration, constitution, as well as the fight against impunity) is essential in order to consolidate the rule of law and democracy, which will contribute to national reconciliation and the sustainable development of the country.
France encourages the Republic of Nepal to continue its efforts in this direction, while respecting its international commitments. It will continue to support these efforts, through its action within the United Nations and the European Union which will contribute to national reconciliation and to the development of the country.