"As is" reference - not a United Nations document
Paris, 20 March 2006
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
THE PRESIDENT – (···) We talked about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. We expressed some concern and the hope that wisdom prevails and the peace process can get moving again.
We discussed the Lebanon and Syria problems, which we're both worried about. We welcomed the National Dialogue, which constitutes indisputable progress, the headway made in the International Commission of Inquiry's investigation and work of Judge Brammertz, and we talked too about the importance of complying with the United Nations resolutions, including UNSCR 1559, and creating the conditions for a more normal relationship between Lebanon and Syria.
Question – His Majesty has made several appeals for immediate aid to be given to the Palestinian people. What measures is the European Union going to take to help the Palestinian people? Secondly, how do you see the dialogue on Iraq, Iranian involvement and the calls on Iran to drop her nuclear programme for the time being?
THE PRESIDENT – A short question, but one raising a lot of issues! Firstly, as regards European aid which constitutes the bulk of the aid the Palestinians receive, our position is this: on the one hand, as you know, Europe has taken a clear stance on the necessity for any Palestinian government, including one formed by Hamas – we fully respect the verdict of the ballot box –, to fulfil three obligations: the rejection of violence, and the recognition of Israel and of the international agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. If the Palestinian government fulfils these, there will be cooperation including in particular the continuation of the aid.
If it doesn't do this clearly or immediately, we think that, in any case, economic sanctions mustn't be imposed on the Palestinian people, they have enough problems and difficulties. So we have to find the way to continue the European aid to the Palestinian people. I'd like us to work with the President of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, to find the best solutions so that this aid can go on, without it being sent where it shouldn't, in other words continue under the Palestinian President's authority.
Question – (···) Are you going to open a direct dialogue with the Syrians on the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, in the wake of the encouraging report indicating that Syria is being more cooperative?
THE PRESIDENT – As regards the Brammertz report, I must, first of all, commend the work which has been done, welcome the acceptance of the idea of an international tribunal, particularly by the United Nations Security Council and the Lebanese authorities. I wouldn't entirely agree with you when you say that this report stresses Syria's cooperation. I think there's still a lot to do. But it's absolutely essential.
It's essential for relations between Syria and Lebanon to be normalized as quickly as possible. This presupposes a minimum of confidence, that the government can genuinely govern, that the Syrian security services stop interfering, that the Security Council resolutions can be applied, particularly UNSC 1559. On all this, we are a long way off achieving the goal.
I hope that thanks to the national dialogue – which, for the first time, has enabled the Lebanese people to meet together without the presence of a foreign supervisory authority – complete unity of the Lebanese can be achieved, including on these essential matters. At all events, this is what we're hoping. Thank you.