Q. – Do you have any information on Côte d’Ivoire and the presence at the French embassy of people close to Laurent Gbagbo?
THE MINISTER – As you can imagine, two foreign ministers meeting today can’t fail to discuss Côte d’Ivoire, which is one of the subjects of major concern. I’d just like to remind you, in this context, of the exact framework in which the Licorne force has intervened.
There’s been a succession of United Nations Security Council resolutions, the latest of them adopted unanimously last week. Among other things, this resolution called on UNOCI to seize the heavy weapons the Gbagbo camp was using against the civilian population. UNOCI embarked upon this task and realized that, in order to fulfil it, it needed the support of the French Licorne force. So the United Nations Secretary-General asked France for Licorne’s support to accomplish UNOCI’s mission. President Sarkozy agreed to provide that support. Certain interventions were carried out in the night to neutralize those heavy weapons, like armoured vehicles.
Today we’re hoping Gbagbo won’t be stubborn. If there’s still a chance today to see him surrender power, we’re ready for it. Beyond that, about rumours of the presence of so-and-so in such-and-such a place, I won’t say any more at this stage. What we hope is that the fighting will cease as soon as possible, that Licorne will of course return to its position before last night’s intervention and that a process of reconciliation and reconstruction in Côte d’Ivoire can be initiated as swiftly as possible, under the impetus of President Alassane Ouattara.
Q. – Are you keeping up to date with the negotiations to secure Gbagbo’s departure?
THE MINISTER – I am keeping up to date./.