Paris, May 23, 2012

Excerpts from the daily press briefing by Bernard Valero, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman (Paris, 23 May 2012) :

Statement with reference to the Friends of Yemen meeting (May 23, 2012)

France welcomes the holding of the Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting today in Riyadh, co-chaired by Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Yemen.

Just as Yemen is embarking on the journey toward political transition, having followed a courageous path, this meeting is an important milestone for the Yemeni authorities, as well as for the international community.

This meeting will provide an opportunity for the international community to express its full support for the process under way in Yemen. The many challenges facing the country and the resulting challenges for the entire region require a concerted, determined and comprehensive response that also addresses the political, security, economic and humanitarian issues, in collaboration with all countries of the region, in particular the GCC countries. This meeting will also provide an opportunity for the Yemeni authorities to present their initiatives and proposed reforms in the country’s key sectors.

France is fully committed to supporting the political transition and will play a full role in this meeting. France intends to contribute its fair share of international assistance, both in the area of democratic transition, notably inter-Yemeni reconciliation and the consolidation of national unity, as well as in the field of economic and social development and the restoration of security.

Within the framework of Yemen’s national dialogue which will soon be initiated and in keeping with our tradition of cooperation in the field of democratic governance, France will provide support to Yemen within the framework of constitutional and electoral law reform.

France also intends to stand alongside Yemen given the enormous humanitarian challenges it faces, notably in order to combat the malnutrition affecting this country.

In this context and in the same spirit of solidarity, France provides financial support to international organizations such as the WFP and UNESCO in order to deliver food supplements to 32,000 children. Also within this context, France, following yesterday’s appalling attack, wished to respond quickly by sending 5 seriously injured persons to our military hospital in Djibouti for treatment.

Sudan – South Sudan : announcement of the forthcoming resumption of negotiations

France welcomes the forthcoming resumption of negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan, announced yesterday by President Mbeki. It encourages the parties to comply without further delay with the UN Security Council resolutions and to implement the road map adopted by the African Union on April 24.

In this respect, France supports the action of the African Union High-level Panel led by President Mbeki.

It urges the authorities of both countries to exercise restraint in order to avoid any increase in tensions. It actively supports the efforts undertaken to put an end to the violence.

Dominican Republic – Election of Mr. Danilo Medina

France congratulates Mr. Danilo Medina on his election as President of the Dominican Republic.

The conduct of the elections reflects the Dominican Republic’s attachment to democracy.

We have taken note of the recommendations outlined by the OAS Electoral Observation Mission, which will help to improve the election process in the future.

In this new chapter that is opening up for the Dominican Republic, France will be committed to strengthening the bonds of friendship and trust that our two countries developed under the presidency of Mr. Leonel Fernandez.

Iran – Nuclear issue

Can you confirm the reports in the Iranian press that Mr. Jacques Audibert, Political Director at the Quai d’Orsay, no longer had a mandate to participate on behalf of France in the negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue ?

I would firstly like to confirm that the Director General for Political and Social Affairs is there today in Baghdad and is actively participating with his counterparts from the E3+3 group in the discussions with the Iranians.

I can do no better than to reiterate to you what President Hollande said on this issue during his press conference at the NATO Summit in Chicago.

“Yes, there’s been some posturing and manipulation and you’re right to ask me this question since it will allow me to do justice to this media campaign, although the press doesn’t have much to do with all that. Mr. Jacques Audibert who is, incidentally, present here with us, is our negotiator. He has been entrusted with a mandate and will be present at the meeting in Baghdad ; we’ve been working in close collaboration throughout this period with the ministers concerned and I have every confidence that he will adopt the firm that is crucial to this negotiation.”

Dernière modification : 23/05/2012

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