Situation in Chad
[*Q. – Can Sudan’s air support for the rebels yesterday in Adré justify France intervening in the framework of the agreements signed with N’Djamena?*]
THE MINISTER – We have no confirmation of such support. Our armed forces haven’t detected this. The military cooperation agreement linking us to Chad relates to logistics and health [military hospital]. We’re honouring our commitments, given that we’re worried and want Chad’s integrity to be preserved. France can intervene only in the framework of a particular agreement, like a defence agreement, or in that of a mandate entrusted to her by the UN to ensure the integrity of Chad and of the legitimate government.
[*Q. – And if, as they’re threatening to, the rebels attack N’Djamena international airport, which is being used for evacuating foreigners?*]
THE MINISTER – We are holding the airport and protecting it because our compatriots’ security depends on it. For us it’s an essential point.
[*Q. – What solution is France advocating?*]
THE MINISTER – We are keen for Chad to preserve her integrity. The aim of France’s action is to prevent a bloodbath. For the moment, no one wants to negotiate, neither President Déby nor the rebels. The situation is worrying us and so we’re discussing it with the member States of the UN Security Council.
[*Q. – What role can the Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi, play?*]
THE MINISTER – Libya, who has a major role to play in the region, can exert all her influence to ensure that Chad’s integrity is preserved. She can also play a role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council so that the legitimate government remains in power.
[*Q. – Is EUFOR’s deployment compromised?*]
THE MINISTER – No, on the contrary, this makes it more justifiable than ever for there to be a European force to ensure the stability and security of Chad, and particularly Eastern Chad. Its deployment is suspended only to the extent that we have other priorities, particularly transporting our nationals to Libreville./.