17.01.2009 - Extracts from the speech of the President of the Republic: presentation of greetings to the Diplomatic Corps

“ (...) Last link to this ‘arc of crisis’: Afghanistan and Pakistan. The fate of these two countries is more intertwined than ever before. If Pakistan does not relentlessly help Afghanistan in fighting the Talibans and Al Qaeda, she will continue to suffer absolutely disastrous consequences on her soil. Since the election of President Zardari, Pakistan has asserted her will to act. We are determined to help her, but it is necessary that this intention is clearly demonstrated by all the Pakistani State agencies. And it is also necessary that Pakistan co-operates fully with India, the biggest democracy in the world, so that the terrorists responsible for the Mumbai slaughter are arrested and punished. France wants to speak to Pakistan and France wants to be a friend of India. (...) The reform of the Security Council will be tackled once again by the General Assembly of the United Nations next month. Along with the United Kingdom, France will plead for a temporary reform which, according to me, is the only way to sort out this issue, which is not moving forward but is rather stepping back. To my mind, it is very clear, that this temporary reform should give way to major players. It is unbelievable that Africa -with nearly a billion inhabitants- cannot rely on a permanent member of the Security Council, it is unbelievable and unwise. It is unbelievable and unwise that Latin America, with several hundred millions of inhabitants, cannot rely on a permanent member of the Security Council, unbelievable and very unwise. Moreover, what to say about the absence of India, who will soon become the main demographic power in the world ? Besides, I could mention other powers : Japan as well as Germany. We can no longer accept an unchanging organisation. I dare say that it does not seem wise to me, either, that there is not a single Arab country as a permanent member of this institution. Unreasonable and unwise. France will thus be the advocate, the interpreter, the spokesperson for this claim for a more international, more balanced and a more representative international organisation. I do not deny that there are regional rivalries here and there. Could I turn towards the countries engaged in rivalry? It is not that the rival, weather it is or it is not a permanent member, will disappear from the region. I am well aware that a certain number of countries have obtained a seat because of what happened in 1945. The reform that we support is not intended to decrease or to remove members, but to add. We should be able to reach an agreement.

(...) I would like to add that, within this set of reforms, the G8 meeting seems to me increasingly strange. This year, the G8 will be chaired by Italy and this is good news. I fully endorse the initiatives taken by Italy to enlarge the G8 Summit into a G14 for half of the time, as our Egyptian friends will join us. While the G8 is certainly perfectly legitimate for an initial work session, a first round of discussions to ensure there is a willingness to move forward together, so that the G8 is a beginning but not an end in itself. It is outrageous for those who have travelled halfway across the world to be invited to a vague lunch after two and a half days of work. (...) The other major negotiation will deal with climate change. France says it is necessary to conclude the Bali process at the Copenhagen Summit in December. To make things clear, and using, here again, a hardly diplomatic language, I do not accept the argument of those who say that the economic crisis is so serious that we should give up imposing additional constraints on our industries to reduce global warming. I do not accept it because it would be a double mistake in the change of our production patterns. Firstly, there is a considerable potential for job creations and growth, a sustainable growth. Secondly, if we do not act today, the price to be paid tomorrow will be too heavy, because if we act too late, we will not be able to do anything. The 2009 meeting, at Copenhagen, will see every great nation facing its responsibilities. Europe, and I can tell you that this was not so easy, is set for the meeting. The United States of America should be at the meeting but China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and all the major emerging economies will have to be there. It is our common interest, it is our planet. Because if the waters rise, there is no place in the world that will not be affected. And because when we have to deal with hunger and thirst riots, we will all be concerned. It is not in 2010 or 2011 that we will have to decide, it is in 2009. And it will have to be done facing it squarely. There will be some amongst us who will be accepting their responsibilities and then there will be the others. I would add, to ensure that I am well understood, that our only way to succeed, I really mean the only one, is to set ambitious targets for ourselves, as the easy goals will not allow us to overcome our selfish industrial interests. What we need are ambitious goals, not easy ones. It is only with a great ambition that each one of us will be able to convince our countrymen to forego exclusively national interests. I expect the United States to let us know, at the earliest, if they are totally ready for efforts similar to the “three times 20 programme” (ie: European Energy and Climate Change Package) that Europe has committed to implement.”

Last modified on 05/11/2009

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