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Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign and European Spokesperson (Paris, July 19, 2011)

Publié le July 22, 2011

Iran/ Announcement of the installation of a new generation of centrifuges
Boarding of the Dignite-Al Karama vessel
Libya
Palestinian Territories
Horn of Africa


Iran/ Announcement of the installation of a new generation of centrifuges

Iran has just staged a new act of provocation by announcing the forthcoming installation of a new generation of centrifuges.

This is yet another violation of the six Security Council resolutions and the 10 IAEA Board of Governors resolutions. On top of the announcements that it plans to triple the production of uranium enriched to 20%, it clearly confirms the suspicions of the IAEA and the international community regarding the purpose of a program without any credible civilian objective.

This provocation also comes in addition to a series of ballistic missile tests conducted by Iran in June as well as another rocket launch test in March 2011.

We condemn this policy of forging ahead regardless which puts peace and regional and international security in jeopardy. Iran must suspend its sensitive activities and establish the conditions for a resumption of dialogue with the E3+3.

[…]

 

Boarding of the Dignite-Al Karama vessel

The Israeli authorities have informed us that the Dignite-Al Karama vessel has been boarded off the coast of the Gaza Strip. 16 people are on board this vessel, including 11 French nationals.

We have, on several occasions, advised our nationals against participating in this new flotilla which is seeking to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip given the security risks involved in this undertaking. These initiatives can only increase tension in the current context. Humanitarian assistance for Gaza must be delivered using surface transport; this is the most effective and most responsible way to help the civilian population of Gaza.

We’ve been indicating to the Israeli authorities for several days now that if this French vessel attempted to break the blockade and that the Israeli authorities decided to prevent it from doing so, then we expect the latter to act with a sense of responsibility and moderation, to respect all the rights of our nationals and to allow them to swiftly return to France. The Ambassador of France to Israel conveyed this message yesterday and this morning to the Israeli national security advisor and Foreign Ministry. We conveyed the same message this morning to Israel’s ambassador to France.

The French ambassador and the General Consulate of France in Tel Aviv are mobilized locally to provide consular protection to our nationals.

France’s position on the blockade of Gaza is clear and constant: it must be lifted. The Israeli authorities must allow international assistance to be delivered to Gaza. The UN must also be able to implement its development and reconstruction projects unhindered. Foreign visitors must have access to the Palestinian Territories.

Libya

Can you comment on or confirm the reports relating to the supposed takeover of Brega by the rebel forces in Libya? Are you aware of it? […]

I understand, without being able to confirm it, that the Libyan resistance fighters are in the process of taking control of the entire town.

This action was announced by the representatives of the NTC at the meeting of the Contact Group which took place in Istanbul on Thursday.

This also corresponds – we’ve said this on several occasions – to the progress on the ground with respect to the Libyan resistance fighters’ action. This would in any case seem to confirm the fact that Qaddafi and his forces are pulling back and becoming increasingly isolated.

[…]

Palestinian Territories

France is a great defender of human rights and in particular the rights of the child. A well-known Israeli NGO issued a report yesterday severely criticizing the treatment of Palestinian children arrested by the Israeli police and denied access to their parents for several days. They are being detained by the military authorities without access to legal representation and in most cases they are sent to prison because confessions are extracted from them without there being any surveillance whatsoever. Do you have any comment?

No, we haven’t had enough time to examine this report with François Zimeray, our Human Rights Ambassador. We’ll tell you our position tomorrow at the press briefing.

The Palestinians could base their demand on resolution 181 of 1947 which established the two-State solution. Do you think this resolution is still viable?

On the face of it, the UN resolutions are still viable. But we would have to check with the UN that this resolution applies in this particular case. The French proposals are still on the table. The most recent Quartet meeting didn’t meet our expectations and that’s another reason to remain mobilized in order to establish the conditions for a resumption of the peace process.

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Horn of Africa

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As you know, France is extremely concerned by the humanitarian crisis as a result of the persistent drought that is affecting the Horn of Africa. The FAO now estimates that around 10 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are dependent on food aid.

The extraordinary meeting of the FAO - requested by France, on behalf of the Presidency of the G20 - devoted to the food crisis in the region, which will take place in Rome on Monday, July 25, should signal the international community’s mobilization to provide support to the people of the region.

France has already contributed, within the framework of its bilateral food assistance programs, more than €6 million to the countries of the region. The Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Affairs and Spatial Planning is due to go to Kenya at the end of this week.

At the European level, the ECHO community program (to which we contribute 16.4% of the funding) operates in Somalia (€30 million), Ethiopia (€15 million) and in Djibouti (€1 million). €5 million were recently released to respond to the emergency situation in the refugee camps in Kenya.

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