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FRANCE: Daily Press Briefing

FRANCE: Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(excerpts)

(Paris, September 23, 2003)

[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]

NATO/SECRETARY-GENERAL

NOELLE LENOIR/EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

BULGARIA/FRANCE

BIOLOGICAL, SOIL, FOOD RESEARCH IN MEDITERRANEAN REGION

CONGRESS OF FRANCOPHONE TEACHERS, RESEARCHERS, EXPERTS ON ASIA

IRAQ

COTE D’IVOIRE

NATO/SECRETARY-GENERAL

Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has sent a message of congratulations to Ditch Foreign Minister de Hoop Scheffer who today obtained the consensus to succeed Mr. Robertson as NATO secretary-general starting January 1. In his message, Mr. de Villepin says the French authorities intend to offer him their full support in working for the Alliance reforms agreed in Prague and for harmonious cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

NOELLE LENOIR/EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Noëlle Lenoir, Minister Delegate for European Affairs, will hold a parliamentary working seminar at 2:30 p.m. at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, September 24. It will be open to all French Euro-MPs.

The seminar will allow for a broad debate on the main European issues on the agenda for the last three months of the Italian presidency, and will be followed at 5 p.m. by a press conference.

(...)

BULGARIA/FRANCE

European Affairs Minister Noëlle Lenoir will meet with Meglena Kuneva, Bulgarian European Affairs Minister, at the Quai d’Orsay on Thursday, September 25 at 12:30 p.m.

During their meeting the two ministers will review Bulgaria’s negotiations on membership in the European Union. France supports the prospect of its membership in 2007.

(...)

BIOLOGICAL, SOIL, FOOD RESEARCH IN MEDITERRANEAN REGION

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting a meeting in Paris today with its partner organizations (IRD, CIRAD, INRA, CEMAGREF, ANVAR, AGROPOLIS, OST and CNRS) to exchange information and think about the directions of French policy in biological, soil and food research in the Mediterranean region and in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean framework.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide research organizations with aspects of the political background to the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue and also to coordinate the work of French groups operating in the Mediterranean region under European programs or in a bilateral context.

(...)

The research organizations will also have an opportunity to describe their vision for the region and share their objectives and expectations. The launch of a new MEDA program (the EU’s development assistance program for the Mediterranean countries) and the 7th framework program for research and development will also be discussed at length in order to establish greater coordination among French research organizations working in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

CONGRESS OF FRANCOPHONE TEACHERS, RESEARCHERS, EXPERTS ON ASIA

The first congress of French specialists in social and human sciences in Asia will be held on September 24 and 25 at the International Conference Center.

For two days, researchers will be able to engage in exchanges in their areas of specialty at the many workshops. The work will be posted on the following site: www.reseau-asie.com

The congress has been organized with the support of the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Youth, National Education and Research and the CNRS.

IRAQ

Q - The main point of difference between Americans and French on the Iraqi question remains the transfer of responsibilities to the Iraqis. Condoleeza Rice called the French proposal for transferring power within six to nine months unrealistic. What’s your reaction?

I’ve no reaction to Ms Rice’s comments. President Chirac and the foreign minister are in New York today. There’s to be a meeting today between the two presidents. They’ll be exchanging their points of view. You have all the elements on the respective positions of both countries. It’s not for me to comment now especially as statements to the press are proliferating in New York.

(...)

COTE D’IVOIRE

Q - What’s your analysis of the situation one year after the uprising in Côte d’Ivoire, at a time when the rebels are threatening seriously to pull out of the government of national reconciliation?

(...) We’ve only got the press reports about the latest events in Côte d’Ivoire, I’ve not been able to confirm these reports. So we’re waiting to hear a bit more. I can tell you there’s a statement from the presidency of the European Union today. The main element, I want to point out, is that the Union reaffirms its complete confidence and support for the process of national reconciliation based on the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis agreement./..

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