Paris, July 10, 2012
Excerpt from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’spokesman (Paris, 10th July 2012)
Lebanon – Shells fired from Syria into Lebanon
France condemns the firing of shells from Syria into Lebanese territory and the repeated incidents of violence that have taken place in recent days at the Syria-Lebanon border.
We extend our condolences to the families of the victims and express our wholehearted sympathy to the injured.
We support the decision of the Lebanese Council of Ministers to strengthen the presence of the Lebanese armed forces at the borders in order to ensure the security of the territory and the Lebanese people.
France calls on Syria to strictly respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in accordance with the UN resolutions.
This violence reflects once again the threat posed to regional peace and security by the Syrian authorities who have been pursuing their policy of violent repression for more than 15 months now.
France strongly condemns the murder of a couple who were Kosovo citizens of Serbian origin on Friday, July 6 in the municipality of Ferizaj/ Urosevac in Kosovo. This couple had returned to live in Kosovo in 2004 after having fled their village during the tragic events of 1998-1999.
The perpetrators of these murders must be swiftly identified and prosecuted. We expect the Kosovo authorities, who immediately condemned these murders, to take all the security measures necessary to preserve the Serbian community in Kosovo and to allow the return of the refugees.
13 years after the end of the war and at a time when Kosovo is in the process of acquiring its full sovereignty, with the end of supervised independence, all Kosovo citizens should be able live there in peace and security.
It is the responsibility of each community to move forward, to ensure an atmosphere of calm and to facilitate reconciliation between Serbia and Kosovo.
France’s mobilization to combat the locust crisis in the Sahel
Groups of desert locusts have been identified in recent weeks in the northern part of the Sahelian strip by the surveillance system set up by the countries of the region. These groups were notably found in northern Niger and Mali where insecurity could hamper the necessary survey and control operations.
The spread of this locust invasion to the southern part of the region would have disastrous consequences, resulting in the loss of crops and the prospect of a worsening food crisis.
Given the seriousness of the situation, France has mobilized its efforts to respond to the appeal launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is responsible for coordinating the fight against desert locusts. France has therefore released emergency funding of €850,000 in order to :
respond to the immediate needs of Niger, the country currently most affected, by supporting the National Center for Locust Control (€400,000) ;
contribute to a regional response, thanks to the emergency fund set up by the FAO (€450,000) which will notably fund the survey and control operations in Mali.
The swift mobilization of donors, chief among them France and the EU, has already made it possible to cover, within a few days, the immediate needs, estimated by the FAO to be $2.5 million. France will remain particularly attentive to developments in the situation in the weeks and months ahead.