Posted by: APO | 12 January 2008

MOROCCO / EUFOR/CHAD


 

Daily Press Briefing

Statements made by

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

(excerpts)

 

(Paris, January 11, 2008)

[Please note that only the original French text issued by the

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.

 

 

MOROCCO

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Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner will receive his Moroccan counterpart, Tayeb Fassi-Fihri today as part of the regular consultations between our two countries and after the latest round of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front brokered by the UN in which Mr Fassi-Fihri took part. France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is closely following this question and fully supports the negotiating session organized by the UN secretary-general’s personal envoy on finding a definitive settlement to the conflict in Western Sahara.

 

Q – … President Sarkozy recently visited Algeria. Can you tell us if he got a positive response to the Moroccan proposals to resolve the problem of Western Sahara? (…)

 

The president restated our position on Morocco’s autonomy plan which is a good, serious and credible basis for negotiation. He found on the Algerian side a real determination to find a solution to the problem of Western Sahara. I believe there is goodwill on all sides and we hope these negotiating sessions, which are being led by the United Nations, will lead to a solution to this problem.

 

(…)

 

 

EUFOR/CHAD

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Q – Can you tell us about the latest developments concerning Eufor-Chad?

 

As you know, there was a force generation conference today, which has now ended as we speak.

 

I don’t know whether General Nash has already made the results public but I can tell you that he said he was satisfied with the meeting and thought it was possible now to launch the Eufor-Chad operation which is to be endorsed by the General Affairs Council at the end of the month, on January 28. This should move things into higher gear, starting with the launch of operations in early February.

 

The force is to be about 3,500 strong, of which half will be French.

France will also provide about ten helicopters. As you know, we needed transport. France will also be the logistics framework nation—that was announced today.

 

There have also been additional contributions, announced or confirmed, by other states, both in the EU and from other countries.

 

I leave it to Brussels to announce the details of states that have announced or confirmed such contributions. I will simply say that Italy in particular–because it’s already been announced as you know–has said it would provide a field hospital.

 

So we have positive results today for the conference. The General Affairs Council on January 28 is due to endorse the operation so it can start early in February. This is indispensable given the situation on the ground.

 

Q – So it’s France that’s filling in the main gap, the problem being chiefly air transport?

 

I wouldn’t say the “main” gap. France has filled in, it’s true, but other countries–as you’ll see from the details when Brussels makes them public–have also provided assets. When I mentioned the field hospital provided by Italy, it’s not insignificant. I don’t think one can say that the main aid comes from France.

 

We are making a significant contribution, you’re right to mention it, but it is a European operation, with many countries contributing, and there’s General Nash who’s Irish and who’s heading the operation. It will be, as I’ve said before, a very good illustration of what the EU can do with regard to the ESDP.

 

Q – You say about half for the number of soldiers?

 

Yes, about half.

 

Q – But can you be more specific?

 

The conference has just concluded. We have to finalize all the numbers being provided by various countries. Roughly speaking we’ve got about 3,500 soldiers, and France is providing about half. We’ll confirm it and give you more information once we have the exact details about each country’s contributions.


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