Novoroční pozdrav diplomatickému sboru, projev Nicolase Sarkozyho, prezidenta Francouzské republiky [fr]
(Paříž, 22. ledna 2010)
Minister of Foreign and European Affairs,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome you here today. I want to extend my sincere New Year greetings to you personally and all your loved-ones, and ask you to convey to your heads of State and government my best wishes for them and for your countries, which you do such a fine job of representing in France.
Your Excellency the Papal Nuncio,
Thank you for your kind words. Please convey my most respectful wishes to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
You will understand my wish to send a very special message to the Haitian chargé d’affaires, whose country has just experienced an unprecedented catastrophe. I would like to ask him to convey the deep sympathy and absolute solidarity of the French people to his authorities, President Préval and the Haitian people. French teams are still at work on the ground today to save the maximum number of lives. France will continue to stand alongside the Haitian people tomorrow to help them recover from this tragedy. The international conference I have called for will enable Haiti to put an end, once and for all, to the terrible fate that has seemingly plagued her for so long. This conference will be held as soon as the conditions are in place and as close to Haiti as possible so that, as soon as it ends, the heads of State and government can report its results to the Haitian people themselves and thus assure them that the international community will remain fully mobilized on their behalf over the long term. In my view, we must not wait too long before this conference, because the needs are immense and it’s urgent.
FINANCIAL CRISIS/GLOBAL WARMING/REGIONAL CRISES
2009 could have brought a great economic depression, probably even worse than the 1930s. All the elements were in place for there to be drastic consequences for world order.
Of course, 2009 will remain etched in our memories, with the trail of wounds inflicted upon our people – the wounds of unemployment and insecurity. But 2009 will also remain a year of bold decisions taken by some 20 heads of State and government. Together we successfully halted a financial implosion, rejected protectionism, and moved forward with a coordinated budgetary recovery at the same time as we launched a new wave of regulation, which was imperative.
We also saw some progress – limited but absolutely unprecedented – on that other great global issue, the fight against climate change, because, unlike Kyoto, all the world’s nations made commitments.
On the other hand, none of the regional crises were resolved or even registered significant progress last year. This begs the question: why such deadlocks? And most importantly, how can we overcome them?
As we turn the page from 2009, we all have a sense of an overall lack of completion. So let us try to make 2010 a year of progress! Progress in the regulation of financial capitalism, progress in the fight against climate change – and in this regard, I can assure you that France will not renounce a single one of her ambitions; I will come back to this. Progress towards the resolution of crises that have persisted all too long in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Sudan, in Africa and the Great Lakes region – the examples are legion.
You will find an active, decisive France standing by your side on all these important issues, and indeed I want to thank Bernard Kouchner, backed by Alain Joyandet and Pierre Lellouche, for his tireless work as France’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister. Indeed, I want to thank them for presenting a united front, which is extremely important when one is responsible for carrying forward the foreign policy of a great country such as France. You will therefore find a France mobilized in every arena – that of peace, development, the fight against terrorism and the fight against nuclear proliferation. A France who will celebrate the ties binding her to Africa in a renewed solidarity. A France who believes more than ever that Europe has a major balancing role to play in building the world governance of the twenty-first century.
If we want to move forward in 2010, we must first raise an absolutely crucial issue, whose solution is urgent: that of world governance. We can no longer keep going the way we have been!
When the world established the United Nations, the organization had only 50 members. There are now 192 of us. The UN is unquestionably the most legitimate organization for dealing with global problems. But decision-making within the UN has become extremely difficult, not to say impossible, because of the diversity of situations and national interests. If this situation were to continue, it would jeopardize the institution’s very survival. That shows how serious this issue is.
No single country can any longer claim to lead the family of nations on its own. There is therefore a clear problem of leadership that we must discuss. With the emergence of new powers, we are seeing the outlines of a multipolar structure, which is perfect for paralyzing decision-making and incapable of benefiting it. This isn’t a criticism of any particular party, but unfortunately we must see a situation as it is.
But we can’t wait. The world has not only become global; it has entered the age of immediacy. We are all interdependent, and things are moving faster and faster. When Lehman Brothers failed, it almost brought down everything with it in just a few hours, from New York to Hong Kong, from London to Mumbai. Governments had to respond in real time. With regard to the terrorist threat, with regard to the threat of major pandemics and even with regard to climate change, a long-term issue, we cannot wait decades for a system of governance worthy of the name to be put in place.
So what should be done?
COPENHAGEN/SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM
The main lesson of Copenhagen is that it’s no longer possible for 192 parties to negotiate according to the same procedures. 130 heads of State made the journey to Copenhagen because they appreciated the importance of the stakes. Upon their arrival, 130 States found an absolutely illegible text that had been negotiated for two years yet still contained 91 sets of brackets! In other words, 91 paragraphs whose survival no one could guarantee! There remained 36 hours, minus an official dinner, to reach a 192-party agreement. Who will stand up to defend such a process? This is what led me to propose upon arriving in Copenhagen that the negotiations should take place, Prime Minister, within a balanced, representative group of 28 countries. It could have been 32, 34, 25… The agreement adopted, which must now be ratified by all our nations, contains 10 positive points. It is a good foundation on which to build this June in Bonn, and then in December in Cancún.
But I want to ask France a question: how are we going to move forward? By resuming 192-party negotiations as though nothing had happened? In that case, failure is guaranteed. I want to propose in your presence, Ambassadors, a new, pragmatic approach that I hope will be universally accepted. The wise thing would be to pursue a two-track negotiating process: one involving all 192 countries, because it alone would commit the entire international community, and that of the Group of 28, which demonstrated its effectiveness and could enrich, stimulate and take forward the work being carried out by the 192.
Starting in March, France proposes that we begin holding monthly meetings of the Group of 28 in New York or Bonn at ministerial or Sherpa level to make proposals for the discussions taking place at the plenary sessions, thus ensuring that we arrive in Cancún for an efficiently prepared meeting.
I have gone on about Copenhagen not only because the stakes of those negotiations are unprecedented, involving the very future of mankind. It is also because the path that was outlined – engaging in two-track discussions, with both a plenary session and smaller but representative formats – should, I believe, be adopted for other major multilateral negotiations. This would make it possible to adapt the so-called Group of 28 – I’m not bothered about the actual number. I want to emphasize the need – one that is more urgent than ever – to enlarge the Security Council through the interim reform proposed by France and the United Kingdom. France is asking for the Security Council at last to be adapted to the realities of the twenty-first century by bringing in new permanent members: India, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and no doubt one or two African countries. How can it be considered normal for a continent of a billion inhabitants to have no permanent member on the Security Council? Or that not a single Latin American country is a permanent member of the Security Council? What are we waiting for to lay the groundwork for this interim reform?
I want to warn you: if the United Nations is not in a position to take the necessary decisions in the very near future, then, Ambassadors, informal forums such as the G20 will assume such responsibilities alone. For lack of anything better. If the G20 worked well, it is because the G192 does not work well enough. Today everyone should be aware of this reality.
I want to send the nations you represent the following message: all of us are deeply committed to the UN. The organization is our common good. It can be reformed only if each nation agrees to take on its share of the effort and the concessions in the general interest. That is what we’ve pledged to do this year, starting with the reform of the World Bank and that of the IMF. Let’s not leave the UN out of this great wind of change, which is absolutely necessary.
This essential consideration of the general interest, this constant search for compromise, for transcending the short-term defence of national interests, is the second necessity of our time.
Europe has no right to lecture the world! But Europe has learned a great deal from its long, often tragic history, and from the half-century during which it has built an ever stronger European Union. What we’ve learned can be summed up in a few words: the culture of compromise. What we’ve learned is that the long-term interest of each of our countries is well served when we are capable of sacrificing a little bit of our national interests to serve a great shared ambition.
It is this very same culture of compromise that must inspire our governments. Of course, all nations, especially those which had to fight for their independence, are committed to their sovereignty. So is France! But capital movements, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, and terrorist or climate threats know no borders.
If we want to address the challenges of the twenty-first century, we must all, without exception, accept compromises, rules and disciplines negotiated with a concern for fairness. With a concern for reciprocity. With a concern for the common good. Each of our countries has rights and interests, but it has just as many duties and responsibilities towards the community of nations.
It was this shared observation that allowed us to reach an agreement in the G20 framework on a number of very difficult subjects, and France will ensure that the decisions taken are implemented.
But now we must tackle even thornier issues. Let’s admit it: public opinion in our countries is tempted by protectionism. We will be able to resist it only if our peoples are convinced that competition in world markets is fair. This is something we must all be aware of. Nowadays, the most serious distortion of competition is of a monetary nature. We must work on this major issue. Let one thing be clear: France will not allow the euro – and Europe – to be the victims of the undervaluation of certain currencies.
Copenhagen showed that for the first time, all countries had the will to work together on a common but differentiated policy. It is a revolution – incomplete but irreversible. In 2010, we will have to specify the numerical, fair commitments that will make it possible to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. France is working on concrete proposals, but let me say that we want to move forward on the question of innovative financing. We won’t back down from the decisions taken on this in Copenhagen. A decision was made and it must be translated into acts, notably for the poorest countries in Africa and elsewhere. We won’t back down from the objective of a World Environment Organization. When the time comes, France will present her proposals to the Group of 28, and in February will host a ministerial meeting of the countries representing the world’s three main forest areas and their partners to specify how to preserve them.
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You can count on an active France committed to the settlement of regional crises. Here too, I want to make a comment on methodology. If there is a lesson to learn from the utter lack of progress in 2009, it is this: there was a troubling lack of collective will. A troubling lack of determination. Was it because of weariness? Was it because our energies were focused on the economic and financial crisis? Yet there is a truth that everyone must recognize: when peace does not move forward, it retreats. The lack of resolution and the resulting trail of violence nurtures frustration, rejection and hatred. 2010 must be a year of determination with respect to the settlement of regional crises.
First of all, in the Middle East. When will the litany of diplomatic speeches on the Middle East no longer be necessary? All 2009’s hopes were dashed. Opportunities were missed. I go even further: certain decisions did not help. And what a lack of boldness! Yet the parameters are already known; they haven’t changed. They are known on territories, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and the obligatory recognition and acceptance of Israel. These parameters won’t change. If everyone made the effort to engage just a little bit in some long-term thinking about what their people, their country and the region will be like in 30 or 50 years, then the decisions to take would seem obvious: two States, naturally on the basis of the 1967 borders, living in peace and security and, I might add, in shared prosperity. How many decades will it take to make this point?
The United States of America, our friend and ally, has a key role to play in moving peace forward. I welcome and wholeheartedly support her decisive new commitment. Egypt is also involved and France is at Egypt’s side. This is true within the Union for the Mediterranean, a priority for France. It is true in the unwavering quest for peace, as we demonstrated together a year ago in getting an end to the fighting in Gaza. Together with President Mubarak, we will take the initiative. I will begin by welcoming President Mahmoud Abbas, who wants peace – a just and fair peace –, to Paris in the near future. France is lending her full support. We must take initiatives. If we don’t take the initiative, the consequences will be tragic. Prudent boldness lies in taking initiatives. Thinking that the status quo will lead to a solution is madness.
I want too to salute the King of Saudi Arabia’s vision for his country and for the region, and the important role of Saudi diplomacy in line with the 2002 peace initiative.
I would like to say that I believe progress is possible in the Middle East! Lebanon offers us an example. After so many difficult, tragic years, the Lebanese are returning to the path of stability. No country is happier about that than France. All the conditions are in place for Lebanon to once again, and in complete independence, become the example of tolerance and multifaith democracy that she once was. France will give her all the help she needs, as I have told both President Suleiman and Prime Minister Hariri.
I welcome the deepening of our relations with Syria, which I am keen to pursue in 2010. She has a major role to play to contribute to stability and peace throughout the region.
Finally, I hope that this year the Iraqis will continue on the path of peace and renewal within a democratic system, which will restore their country to its full place in the Middle East. France is happy to have renewed her multifaceted cooperation with Iraq. I thank Bernard Kouchner for the visit he made that made these renewed ties possible.
More than any other country, Iraq has been – and still is – a victim of terrorism. Al-Qaida, which has suffered serious setbacks, is seeking to expand its reach from Afghanistan to Yemen, from Pakistan to the Sahel, and to the very heart of our democracies. Our countries must join forces against this threat.
In Afghanistan as well as Pakistan, the international community’s efforts are entering a new phase. On 28 January, an international conference with President Karzai will be held in London. We had proposed it along with Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel.
Beyond the commitments that will be taken, I would like to see progress in London on two points:
First, on a concerted approach to the gradual transfer of security responsibilities in the provinces and districts to the Afghan authorities, as soon as the level of security there is satisfactory. But make no mistake! This transition, which has already taken place in the Kabul region, won’t be either a retreat or an abandonment. France will remain engaged for as long as it takes and as long as the Afghans want it. But once the Allies and the Afghans have succeeded, we must accept the consequences and focus our efforts where they are still needed.
We must then agree on a reorganization of the international force, as the considerable resources we are devoting to Afghanistan must be utilized in an exemplary manner.
The French military force, at about 4,000, is for the most part concentrated in Kapisa province and the Surobi district. There it is conducting a counterinsurgency mission with the support of our civilian capabilities, whose effectiveness is universally acknowledged. We have set two objectives: to stabilize the area in two years and accelerate the training of the Afghan army and police.
But everyone knows that we will not have lasting success in Afghanistan if terrorism grows in neighbouring Pakistan. Terrorism is taking a very heavy toll on the Pakistanis. They have launched a courageous battle against this scourge. I will be visiting Pakistan this year to show France’s support for her government and encourage her to step up the fight against all terrorist groups.
In the geographical heart of this arc of crises stretching from the Mediterranean to the Indus lies Iran.
Despite all our efforts and the United States’ new commitment, despite our ambitious cooperation proposals, the Iranian regime is sticking to the dead-end path of proliferation and radicalism. And now it is also brutally cracking down on its own people.
Despite revelations about a new clandestine nuclear site, we once again extended an invitation to Iran to engage in sincere negotiations. Together with the IAEA, we put proposals on the table. But Ambassadors, in order to have a dialogue, it helps to be two. Once again, nothing happened, except that during the time of these missed opportunities for dialogue, Iran continued to increase her stockpile of nuclear materials. The time has come for the international community to draw the conclusions from these months of fruitless efforts. We must clearly, firmly emphasize that for us, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable. International stability is at stake. World peace is at stake.
The matter has been referred to the Security Council. Were it to hesitate and equivocate in the face of such stakes it would bear a very heavy responsibility. France wants the Council to adopt strong measures and the European Community, too, to assume its responsibilities. Let things be clear: there will always be an open door for dialogue with Iran, and France, who has respect and friendship for the great Iranian people, will always be in favour of it. The sole aim of the sanctions is to credibly bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
We have the same approach towards North Korea, who must respect the international obligations she has once again violated. But France is not forgetting the North Korean people who have undergone terrible suffering. That is why I wanted to open a French office for cultural and humanitarian cooperation in Pyongyang.
Beyond these two crises, this year, together with the community of responsible nations, we must pledge to begin building a new international partnership revolving around nuclear energy. In May, we’ll have the major NPT conference in New York.
As we enter an era of renewal for civilian nuclear energy, France is approaching it with confidence. France is in the forefront of those advocating universal access to civilian nuclear energy. Because France has made the fight against proliferation one of her priorities. Because, together with the United Kingdom, she is the nuclear power who has taken the strongest measures on disarmament.
For the same reason, on 8 March in Paris, France, along with the IAEA and OECD, will host a ministerial conference on access to civilian nuclear power, at which I will be presenting the French ideas. I would like to see this debate result in a meeting of minds on the revival of civilian nuclear energy in the world. For a shared vision of access to civilian nuclear energy will also help us address the challenges of global energy security.
Finally, at President Obama’s invitation, I will naturally attend the nuclear security summit in Washington on 12 April. There we will mobilize the international community against the major risk of seeing terrorists use a nuclear weapon.
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If there’s a continent to which the French feel close, it’s Africa. For geographical reasons: the Mediterranean isn’t a barrier, it’s our shared sea. For demographic reasons: one out of 10 French people has roots in Africa. And for historical reasons: this year, 14 nations with special ties to France will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their independence. The commemoration of that seminal moment is first and foremost their own affair, of course. But France wants to demonstrate to them her resolve to build a new partnership with them.
For France, 2010 will be the year of Africa. First with the France-Africa summit, which we will host on 27 and 28 May. The entire continent will be invited, given that the scope of our cooperation has progressively expanded to embrace the entire continent, with major new partners: South Africa, Angola and Nigeria. We will also inaugurate a new form of summit by having businesses – those major players in development – join us in our work. I want this to be an opportunity for French companies to enter into clear commitments to further the development of the countries in which they are operating, in the framework of an entrepreneur’s charter in Africa.
Then on 13 and 14 July, we will welcome, for a family meeting, the heads of State who will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their countries’ independence. This will be an opportunity to take stock of the renewal of our partnership, from defence agreements to youth training. Contingents from 14 countries will parade on the Champs-Elysées, because I want all French people, on that day, solemnly to express their gratitude for the help we received from African troops during the two World Wars. Under Jacques Toubon’s patronage, many events throughout the year will underscore the strength of the human ties between Africa and France.
Finally, even though it spans every continent, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie [international Francophone organization], which will hold its summit in the autumn, will offer a new opportunity to celebrate the very strong tie uniting half of Africa with France: that of our shared language. I will do my utmost to expand your organization’s influence.
But the policy we want to conduct with respect to Africa is not just one of renewal; it is marked by a determination to bring about reconciliation. This was the case for Mauritania, following a process France unreservedly supported which led to re-establishment of the law and the election of President Aziz. It was the case for Rwanda, following two conversations I had with President Kagamé and thanks to Bernard Kouchner’s patient, determined efforts. I will travel to Kigali after visiting Libreville in February. A similar effort is under way with Angola, and I will do everything I can to bring to fruition the effort undertaken this year with President Dos Santos. Finally, such an effort is possible – and extremely desirable – with Côte d’Ivoire, as long as that country holds the elections that have been awaited for all too long.
For France, Africa is also a continent where progress on peace can and must be made.
In 2010, the fate of Sudan will be decided. All sincere supporters of peace in Darfur must take part in the talks that will resume in Doha. The elections scheduled for April – Sudan’s first elections in nearly 25 years – must be commensurate with the democratic ambitions enshrined in the 2005 Agreement. Finally, less than a year before the date established for self-determination in the South, the Sudanese parties must settle without delay the fundamental issues still unresolved to date.
In the Great Lakes region, the security of the entire population of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is not yet guaranteed. The French have been distressed by the pictures they have seen of the area. The international community must remain engaged there. We must also acknowledge that progress has been made, but that we should go further. This is the purpose of the Great Lakes regional cooperation forum, which I proposed to convene this year. I hope it will lead to concrete cross-border cooperative projects in order to provide the people with the dividends of peace.
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The European Union has 500 million citizens. It is the world’s largest economy, with 30% of global GDP. It is the world’s leading industrial power, and leading agricultural power, alone providing more than half of all global development aid. Its 27 countries, when they work together, are capable of mounting such operations as Atalanta, which has been a real success.
But two things were missing in order for us to emerge as a top-ranking player on the world stage. We lacked appropriate institutions. This has now been remedied with the Lisbon Treaty. But we lack a collective will. A fundamental question remains: do the 27, collectively have the will to transform their union into a first-class global player? This is the crucial question. And Europe can’t complain to anyone else if it doesn’t play that leading role. It has only itself to blame.
France’s answer to this question is "yes." France has the will to see Europe play a leading role. For that to happen, we must take major initiatives in 2010. First, we must adopt a genuine common economic strategy. If we Europeans want to emerge from the crisis stronger, we must be capable of acting together in a truly coordinated manner, as we did during the financial crisis. I am pleased that President Van Rompuy decided to put this issue at the heart of the agenda of the Extraordinary European Council on 11 February. The first decision by the stable President of Europe is an excellent one.
The EU must also defend its interests better. Ladies and gentlemen, make sure your countries receive this message: we will impose the rule of reciprocity. Resolutely fight dumping of all kinds. And France is asking Europe to adopt a carbon tax at its borders, as the US Congress is preparing to do, which is the only intelligent way to take on board the consequences of the half-agreement reached in Copenhagen. This tax will be imposed on all nations refusing to make or failing to honour the essential commitments to save the planet from disaster. Finally, Europe must have a genuine energy policy that guarantees its long-term security.
The European Union is right to be a model. But it must be neither naïve nor weak.
Europe has always been a land of immigration. It must remain so, but on the basis of a firm, controlled policy negotiated with the main countries of origin, and fully implementing the pact adopted under French presidency.
The Europeans must adopt the tools necessary to their security and defence. We are doing this in the NATO framework, but we must also do so in the EU framework. Security also means the ability to respond to emergencies, such as the Haiti tragedy. This is why France is advocating the creation of a European civil security force using pre-identified national assets that could be deployed very swiftly.
United and determined, Europe will assert itself as a crucial player, and France will contribute to this with all her strength. This year, France will continue her cooperation in every area with the United States, and we wish President Obama success. I will go to the United States this spring. France will continue to develop strong partnerships with Brazil, with whom we are establishing absolutely unprecedented cooperation programmes; with Egypt, as I’ve mentioned; with India, where I’ll be going again and who has a major role to play in the global balance; with China, with whom there will be an exchange of visits at the highest level in 2010; and finally with Russia, in the framework of a year of exceptional cultural exchanges. And I want to tell you how easy it is to work with President Medvedev.
At the same time, the EU will assert itself without any hang-ups, both in global negotiations and its summits with our major partners. And let no one come and tell us that this duality is complicated! After two World Wars, Europe launched a process of union that is without any historical equivalent. For 50 years, it was at the heart of the tensions between the two great powers. United for 20 years, Europe is progressively asserting itself as a force for balance and as a key player in development and peace.
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These, Ambassadors, are the messages that I ask you to convey to your heads of State and government as we begin this new year.
As you see, in the face of the difficulties, France intends neither to give up nor recoil. Now more than ever, she is determined to contribute to building a better world. Without arrogance, but with conviction. And France wants to build this world with each of the nations you represent. For in a globalized world, every nation, large or small, industrialized or developing, has a contribution to make to our shared edifice. And each nation, in return, must receive the respect, solidarity, consideration and friendship of all.
Happy New Year Ambassadors./.