Paris, February 21, 2012

Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Romain Nadal, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ deputy spokesman (Paris, Tuesday 21 February 2012)

Somalia – Ministre d’Etat’s participation in the London Conference on Somalia (February 23)

The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Alain Juppé, will participate in the London Conference on Somalia on February 23.

This conference should mark a new stage in the international community’s action to promote peace and support reconstruction in Somalia.

This is a critical time for Somalia, while its transition should be completed on August 20. The international community’s continued commitment will be conditional upon this transition. There’s still a great deal of work to be done in order to achieve the objectives set out in the road map signed in Mogadishu on September 6, 2011.

France has supported AMISOM - notably by training its various contingents - since its initial deployment in 2007. This African Union mission does courageous and essential work, but making Somalia safe also requires training Somali soldiers in order to ensure the long-term autonomy of Somalia’s authorities in this area. France contributes to the efforts of the European mission, EUTM, which should integrate soldiers from all regions of Somalia.

The unity of Somalia requires strengthened dialogue between the various Somali entities. The international community – in particular the EU - already provides substantial assistance to Somalia. This assistance should notably focus on strengthening the rule of law. We’re referring to the prosecution and incarceration of pirates, which are crucial to ending the impunity currently prevailing in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. That’s why France is engaged, at the bilateral level as well as within the European framework, in actions that are helping to strengthen Somalia’s maritime and judicial capacities. The fight against piracy goes hand in hand with support for the creation of a genuine State in Somalia. This is in the interests of the Somali people. It’s also in our interest.

Meeting between Mr. Alain Juppé and Ms. Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (February 22)

On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, the Ministre d’Etat, Mr. Alain Juppé, will receive Ms. Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, and head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The Ministre d’Etat will say to Ms. Amos that, in France’s opinion, the international community has a duty to provide humanitarian support whether with respect to the tragic situation in Syria, with respect to Somalia or to Sudan. He will reaffirm to her the government’s political and financial commitment, as well as the important role of French NGOs in global humanitarian action. He will confirm France’s determination to work ever more closely with the OCHA, ECHO and the major international organizations.

The OCHA, which was created in 1992 and operates on the ground, has the task of coordinating international humanitarian assistance in emergency situations and of supporting resource mobilization while seeking to ensure the coherence of humanitarian action. The OCHA has played a key role in the implementation of UN humanitarian reform since 2005.

France strongly supports the enhanced role of the UN and the OCHA in coordinating humanitarian action. It supports all principles that allow the UN agencies and the other humanitarian organizations (the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the NGOs) to retain their ability to take action in difficult situations : respect for international humanitarian law, the safety of humanitarian actors, the protection of civilians, displaced persons and the most vulnerable persons.

French farmers’ mission to Israel organized by the France-Israel Foundation

The France-Israel Foundation is organizing, from February 20 to 23, a visit to Israel by a delegation of 20 leaders from the French agricultural sector, in order to introduce them to the specific characteristics of the Israeli agricultural sector.

This visit will provide an opportunity to meet with leaders from the Israeli agricultural sector, most notably Agriculture Minister, Ms. Orit Noked, to network with leaders from the Israeli agricultural research sector as well as to carry out visits on the ground.

France supports this initiative which, like other activities organized by the France-Israel Foundation, helps to bring French and Israeli societies closer together.

Acts of vandalism against a Baptist church in Jerusalem

France condemns the acts of vandalism perpetrated yesterday morning against a Baptist church in Jerusalem.

Such an attack against a place of worship is unacceptable.

It hopes that full light will be shed on these acts and that those responsible will be brought to justice.

France reaffirms its attachment to the freedom of religion, worship and belief.

Iran

What’s your response to Mr. Jalili’s letter ?

Provided that it corresponds to a real willingness to seriously cooperate with the international community, the Iranian response may constitute an encouraging development.

Between now and the actual resumption of the discussions, Iran must demonstrate the sincerity of its intentions by refraining from further developing its sensitive activities and by fully cooperating with the IAEA mission which will arrive in Iran today.

Dernière modification : 21/02/2012

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