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Cameroon/French hostages

Publié le March 20, 2013
Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the French community (excerpts)
Yaoundé, March 15, 2013

(...)

I decided to come here, even though it’s quick – and I hope you’ll forgive me for that –, because I want to have direct contact with you, with GDF Suez and the local authorities. Tomorrow morning I’ll be in Nigeria, where I’ll be meeting the President and a few other people. (...)

On 19 February, seven of our compatriots, who are your friends, were kidnapped. It was a shock for you, for us, for all Cameroonians. Moreover, the circumstances of the kidnapping, the make-up of the family, the very young children, makes the situation more unbearable. (...) The greatest wish this evening is to find them alive. Resources are being mobilized to this end – France’s resources and those of the [other] countries concerned.

I’m sure you’ll understand that I won’t elaborate on this, because we’ve got to be effective, and one of the requirements of this effectiveness is discretion. But really, our dearest wish is to find our compatriots and friends fast! (...)

It is vital that security is stepped up everywhere, and the country’s government is determined to do this. The President asked me to tell you this. (...)

GDF Suez reacted in the necessary way by rallying round the family in a show of active solidarity. I really hope the same is true for all our projects, because we have a close relationship with this country which we’d like to pursue. Some time ago, the Cameroonian President was welcomed to France; he had constructive exchanges with the French President, before meeting a number of business leaders. So there are many opportunities and I know that you love this country and this is what you want. It now of course depends on security. (...)

Everyone has clearly understood that terrorism and terrorist groups should be fought, otherwise they risk undermining any possibility of development. That’s where we stand. (...)./.