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Question de la paix au Moyen-Orient - Conférence de presse du Président français - Communiqué de presse Français
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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
19 September 2006

Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


President Jacques Chirac of France highlighted today the importance of collective action as the best response to conflict and the distortions caused by globalization.

He emphasized that theme this afternoon at a Headquarters press conference, where he addressed the four key issues of peace in the Middle East, peace in Darfur, the safeguarding of health and environmental protection.

Stressing the need to break the status quo in the Middle East, he said peace in Lebanon would involve implementing Security Council resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1701 (2006), which provided the context in which the international community could hope for positive developments in a country that had previously experienced the consequences of undesired initiatives.

With regard to Gaza, he recalled a bygone era in which there had been confidence between Israel and Palestine to work for peace.  In the absence of that confidence today, forward movement towards peace could be made under the guidance of the United Nations and the international community.  A global strategy could be created, starting with the establishment of a conference in which the international community would provide guarantees for peace and stability in the region.

Regarding the resumption of bombing in Darfur by the Sudanese authorities, he said it was crucial that the Government accept the deployment of a 20,000-strong United Nations force in Darfur to prevent a humanitarian situation that could create millions of internally displaced persons and hundreds of thousands of other victims.  He had personally appealed to the Sudanese authorities and others to accept that proposal.

On meeting the challenge of ensuring universal health, President Chirac noted the launch today of UNITAID, a solidarity fund that would give ill people in the global South access to medicines developed in the global North.  A UNITAID purchasing centre would be given the financial means to purchase and deliver medicines and investigate HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.  The new drug purchase facility represented a novel form of financing that was necessary to combat disease.

UNITAID would complement efforts to address underdevelopment, especially those made by Chile, Norway, Brazil and the United Kingdom, he said.  The launch would be undertaken in the presence of Secretary-General Kofi Annan; President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of Congo, Chairman of the African Union; and international organizations, including the Clinton Global Initiative.

On the issue of environmental degradation, President Chirac called for stronger discipline and for the creation of a United Nations environmental organization that would not only generate awareness, but also monitor, verify and implement policy.

He called on the United Nations to carry out reform that would lead to a broader representation of all nations, particularly in the Security Council.  France supported Japan, Germany, India and Brazil as candidates for permanent membership, and one or two African nations as non-permanent members.

Asked whether Iran should suspend its uranium-enrichment programme, the President said his country was committed to dialogue, a position held also by the six States seeking a peaceful solution to that question, including the United States.  France advocated the start of negotiations, during which the six States would not request sanctions by the Security Council and Iran would suspend its “contentious activities” in uranium enrichment.

To a question about the independence of the proposed international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, President Chirac expressed his full confidence in the independence of any judge mandated by the United Nations to investigate that crime.  As for whether France was aligned with China and the Russian Federation on that issue, he said he would be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

Asked about the length of time that France had taken to send its troops to Lebanon, President Chirac said that, once the desire to expand the scope of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) had been determined, he had immediately discussed with the Secretary-General and Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, new rules of engagement that would ensure the safety of the troops.  Once agreement had been reached, he had met with Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy to take action.

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For information media • not an official record

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