Paris, March 29, 2012
Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 29 March 2012)
Statement issued by Mr. Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Mr. Claude Guéant, Minister of the Interior, Overseas France, Local and Regional Authorities and Immigration
As requested by President Sarkozy, the government has decided to refuse entry to the French territory to 4 prominent foreign figures invited to a meeting of the Union of France’s Islamic Organizations (UOIF – Union des Organisations Islamiques de France) due to take place in Le Bourget from April 6 to 9, 2012.
Akrima Sabri, Ayed Bin Abdallah al-Qarni, Safwat al-Hijazi, and Abdallah Basfar have therefore been refused or deprived of the possibility of entering French territory. Yusuf al-Qaradawi and al-Masri have, for their part, decided not to come.
The positions and statements of these people which call for hatred and violence seriously violate the principles of the Republic and, in the current context, pose a significant threat to public order.
We regret the fact that the UOIF has also chosen to invite Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen whose positions and statements run counter to the republican spirit, which does a disservice to French Muslims.
The government safeguards the freedom to exercise all forms of worship and is attached to ensuring that French Muslims are able to practice their faith freely. The government is also attached to the freedom of expression, a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.
But while France has been affected by extremists who attack it in the name of ideologies or misguided beliefs, it’s essential that these freedoms be exercised within the framework of the law in accordance with our fundamental values : human rights, equality between men and women, secular principles, respect for the religions and opinions of others, and the rejection of communautarisme [splitting society into separate communities].
Continuation of the crackdown in Syria
A day after the Damascus regime’s purported acceptance of Mr. Kofi Annan’s plan, we note that the crackdown resulted in several dozen more deaths yesterday alone and that the regime is continuing to use heavy weapons against its population.
The international community won’t accept deception.
France demands that the regime uphold its commitments and put an end to the massacres.
The Arab League is meeting today in Baghdad and the discussions will focus on the Syrian crisis. The Arab League has been adopting courageous positions since November and has proposed a political plan to resolve the crisis which was supported by nearly all Member States of the United Nations.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the UN and the Arab League, the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Kofi Annan, has made proposals based on the Arab League plan aimed at putting an end to the violence and initiating a democratic transition in Syria.
France supports the Arab League’s efforts to find a solution to the crisis so that the Syrians who are sacrificing themselves for democracy will finally be able to freely determine their destiny.
Japan – Execution of 3 prisoners sentenced to death
France deplores the executions of 3 prisoners, Yasuaki Uwabe, Tomoyuki Furusawa and Yasutoshi Matsuda in Japan yesterday, Wednesday March 28.
These executions are all the more regrettable given that they were carried out at a time when the death penalty had not been imposed in Japan for more than a year and a half.
France, which reaffirms its uncompromising opposition to the death penalty anywhere, whatever the circumstances, urges Japan to reinstate the de facto moratorium and to continue the national debate initiated on the future of the death penalty.
As of today, 139 States have renounced the death penalty by abolishing it or by adopting a de facto moratorium. France renews its appeal for a universal moratorium as a first step toward the definitive abolition of the death penalty everywhere.