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Madagascar : France Favors National Reconciliation

Madagascar : France Favors National Reconciliation

Daily Press Briefing: Statement made in Paris by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeperson, Mr François Rivasseau on June 28, 2002 (Excerpt on Madagascar). Source: Quai d'Orsay, Paris.

France condemns the use of violence and the acts of sabotage. I refer in particular to the sabotaging of a second electricity pylon supplying the capital as a result of which Tananarive is temporarily without power. We also condemn most strongly the acts of violence that have been committed in the province of Tamatave and around Diego Suarez.

Question: Why were they committed?

I've nothing to add to my statement. We condemn all such actions.

Question: Why was France the only one absent from the ceremonies in support of the new president?

There was a message from the president, may I remind you. In addition, Mr. de Villepin spoke on the phone with Marc Ravalomanana yesterday in the late morning. We reaffirmed France's commitment and our objectives.

We are on the side of those who are working for the formation of a government of openness and national reconciliation, and with the clear prospect of an election. That is our priority. Those are our objectives which are also the same as those of the European Union and United States. Our démarches are not the same but they are complementary.

Question: Does France consider it premature for all the donor countries except France to recognize Mr. Ravalomanana as being democratically elected with 51% of the vote?

I didn't say that. I said that our démarches are complementary, not that they're the same.

Question: Why is France asking for new elections when they've already been held, the president-elect has been officially inaugurated, the U.S. has recognized him and we are the only ones saying another round of elections is needed with a government of national reconciliation? I don't understand.

It's quite simply because in our view national reconciliation is an important element. That is also what the Africans thought at Dakar I, Dakar II and Addis Ababa and it's a point of view which the two parties accept in principle. So there's no reason to think it is pointless.

Question: Does the existence of long-standing ties between France and Mr. Ratsiraka explain the caution on this problem and the fact that we are more prudent than our partners, including at the financial, political and other levels? Is that prudence justified by a better analysis founded on old ties or on an interested analysis?

We do have long-standing ties with Madagascar, we also have long-standing ties with all of Africa and we are being careful in our approach to ensure that all the elements in this matter are taken into account. We say this repeatedly when we speak of a solution that is peaceful, African and political.

Question: How can you continue to talk about national reconciliation when at the same time you condemn the violence in the Ratsiraka camp?

We have a clear objective--the return to peace--a constant principle--a peaceful solution built around national reconciliation--and a priority-support for African solutions. These three elements are the starting point and lead very logically to the position we've taken. I don't see a contradiction there, quite the opposite. There's a logical follow-up between the bases of our analysis and the solution we support.

Question: I understand the position but what prevents you from recognizing Mr. Ravalomanana and applying all the points you just cited, specifically national reconciliation, and from asking a president that you'd recognized to form a national of national union?

Dakar II stipulates that each party must do a certain number things. An important element is the request to Mr. Ravalomanana to form a government of national reconciliation?

Question: Is your position the same as the OAU's in this?

We're not in the same situation as the OAU so our position can't be exactly the same as the OAU's, but we support their efforts.

Question: Does France really want this matter resolved solely by the Africans without foreign, including French, interference?

We support African mediation efforts for a solution decided on by the African themselves.

Question: Do you think that the best solution for a peaceful outcome is not to side with either Mr. Ravalomanana or Mr. Ratsiraka?

We certainly think that our position is a good approach to national reconciliation and peace in Madagascar.

Question: Are there pro-Ratsiraka supporters in the government?

Mr. de Villepin told Mr. Ravalomanana yesterday that we are on the side of those working to form a government of openness and national reconciliation, it's a vital element in the process of reconciliation, as is the clear prospect of an election. So once the process of reconciliation starts France will act to assist Madagascar.

Question: So the process hasn't begun yet?

The process doesn't seem to have really started yet at this time. At this point, the composition of the government isn't truly one of a government of national reconciliation./.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).