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Climate/Egypt/Syria/Sahel/Qatar

Publié le December 11, 2012
Joint press conference given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mme Delphine Batho, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable

Development and Energy, and M. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development (excerpts)
Doha, December 6, 2012

M. FABIUS – We had bilateral meetings. We saw our South African, American, Brazilian and other colleagues. First of all I’d like to offer you my greetings, and those of my colleagues and friends Delphine Batho and Pascal Canfin, and then tell you in a few words why we’re here. Then of course we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

CLIMATE CHANGE

What goal are we pursuing in Doha? There are two main objectives.

On the one hand, to launch the second Kyoto commitment period and put what’s called the Durban Platform on the right track, and finally to negotiate the binding global instrument for 2015. Discussions are under way at the moment, as is always the case at these kinds of conferences. We’re hoping to achieve a positive result; I and my two colleagues and friends, in particular, are working on it.

The second objective – I’ve confirmed it officially – is the proposal the French President made when he said we’re ready to host the Conference of the Parties in 2015. Of course, we’re going to see what the various reactions are, but the fact that we’re apparently the only candidates makes the choice easier.

What would we like? To secure the most positive agreement possible in 2015, involving all countries; to speed up the global environmental transition, without which – as I’m sure you’re all convinced – we’re heading for disaster; to mobilize a whole series of resources, particularly financial ones which have been promised in the past but must now be mobilized in terms of development aid and private investment, in order to combine the environmental transition and solidarity so as to ensure our world is a sustainable world.

What resources do we have? Basically partnerships that my colleagues and I are going to start building from now on with the countries playing the most active roles, with the emerging countries, which have understood the scale of the challenge, with the conference presidencies – both those of past conferences, who have experience, and the 2013-2014 conferences – to ensure the building-blocks are put in place that will lead to a positive agreement in 2015. It’s a considerable diplomatic job. It can even be said that climate change is the new major challenge of global diplomacy. That’s why it was absolutely essential for my colleagues and friends, Mme Batho and M. Canfin, to be able to back me up in this task, which we are of course going to carry out with the European Union and which will require determination and a lot of dialogue and decision-making. I was saying on this point that when I asked our South African colleague about Durban, about her experience, I asked her how to proceed.

Why France, people will ask me? Because the French government has fully grasped the scale of climate disruption; because we have a strong ambition for 2015 and want to put all our energy into success; because we have positive relations with our partners. Through this overall stance, through the way she’s acting in this particular area, I believe France enjoys fairly widespread trust. And it’s because we stick to our commitments: I’ve given a few figures which show that – even though nobody should set themselves up as an example – France has made commitments, which gives us credibility in this field. That’s why all three of us are here.

Thank you very much to the numerous organizations, parliament members and many others. We won’t be able to work entirely alone, of course. Civil society must stand alongside us. All people of goodwill must work together. (…)

EGYPT

Q. – On Egypt, what’s your reaction to what’s happening now in the street?

M. FABIUS – My reaction to what’s going on in Egypt is one of great concern, and I appeal for dialogue. All that was expressed in the Arab Spring was a desire for democracy: that’s the basis of the Arab Spring. This desire for democracy must be rediscovered in the way the various people behave. So I really appeal for dialogue between the different parties.

Q. – Have you seen Mr Mursi?

M. FABIUS – Of course, a week ago.

Q. – Did you express your position to him?

M. FABIUS – Violence is never a solution – that’s clear. So our position is to ask the various people to return to the path of dialogue and democracy. Only this way will progress be possible in Egypt.

SYRIA

Q. – What about the possibility of chemical weapons being used in Syria?

M. FABIUS – We’ve said in the clearest way that the potential use of chemical weapons is an extremely serious violation of all international law and an absolutely unacceptable prospect. I made this declaration on behalf of France; the Americans made the same declaration, as did the British and the Russians. So the current government in Syria must realize that this prospect is unacceptable. The use of those chemical weapons by this government or any other group is unacceptable. That’s crystal clear. (…)

MALI

Q. – On Mali, what about the fact that an intervention risks taking longer than expected?

M. FABIUS – On the goal that must be pursued in Mali, there are three aspects that must be taken together.

Firstly there’s a political aspect: ensuring that the government in southern Mali is stabilized and that discussions are held between the legitimate government in Mali and those people in the north who reject terrorism. That’s necessary and it’s something that has started.

Then there’s a humanitarian aspect, because the Malian people are a poor people and there’s still a lot of displacement, both within Mali and to the neighbouring countries.

Finally there must be security support, to enable Mali to regain an effective army. For the African neighbours, it’s about making forces available that can fight terrorism. The main challenge in Mali – we must never lose sight of it – is the fight against terrorism and narco-terrorism; that’s the goal. So it must come from Africans first of all, and of course the international community must support this drive.

I note that when we discussed this subject at the United Nations – obviously, because it’s about fighting terrorism and narco-terrorism – it would have been incomprehensible for any country to oppose it. So I repeat, there’s the humanitarian aspect and the security aspect. Europe will help with training the Malian troops. The neighbouring countries will provide contingents; they’ve committed themselves to this. At international level, at United Nations level, a resolution will soon be proposed to create a road map.

MIDDLE EAST

Q. – (on Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories)

M. FABIUS – We reacted when we heard about the Israeli government’s decision to establish new settlements, especially in the area known as E1. Why did we react? Firstly because the settlements are contrary to international law; they’ve been condemned several times. Secondly, if they took place, the settlements in this specific part would cut the West Bank in two and effectively block the two-state solution, which is the solution chosen internationally. So we (…) summoned the Israeli ambassadors in different countries in order to say this is an unacceptable prospect. (…)

QATAR/FRANCE

Q. – What about bilateral relations between Qatar and France? (…)

M. FABIUS – (…) Those relations are excellent; I had the opportunity to have a long meeting this morning with the Amir of Qatar and then have lunch with the Prime Minister of Qatar. We discussed both international affairs and our relations. We all spoke of strategic friendship between Qatar and France. It’s a friendship that goes back a long way and hasn’t faltered. There are a lot of French companies working here; there are Qatari investments in France which create jobs. There’s an educational aspect to our trade; as you know, there are two high-quality schools here, the Lycée Bonaparte and the Lycée Voltaire. We have scientific and cultural relations, and at the same time we have identical views on many issues relating to the region. So it’s extremely close and friendly cooperation; I was happy to have the opportunity, along with the French President, to hear this confirmed by both the Amir and the Prime Minister when we met them in France.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Q. – What does France say about the climate?

M. FABIUS – We’re in favour of extending Kyoto and of there being no break between what’s been done so far and what’s going to be done.

Q. – But a lot more must be done.

M. FABIUS – (…) We must be ambitious, you’re right. (…)./.