The Arab Spring: Hopes and Challenges

MR. INDYK: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to Brookings. I’m Martin Indyk, the vice president and director of
the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. On behalf of our Center for the
United States and Europe we’re very honored today to host a statesmen’s
forum with Alain Juppé, the minister of foreign and European affairs of

Alain Juppé has a very distinguished record of public service.
He’s been appointed a minister on three occasions. He was minister of
foreign affairs originally from 1993 to 1995. In that year he became prime
minister of France, serving through till 1997, and was appointed to his
current position in 2011. As he mentioned to me, he had a short stint as
minister of defense and veteran affairs as well in between.

He’s been a member of the National Assembly. And in the
political realm, he helped to create the UMP Party, the party of President
Nicolas Sarkozy. And the foreign minister has served as chairman of that

He was also elected the mayor of Bordeaux, a place that we
know very well for its great wines. And played a very important role in terms
of a program of modernizing and introducing urban planning in that city
where he served as mayor from 1995 to 2004.

He’s the author of several books on politics and foreign policy.
And we’re very honored to have him here today after a very hectic round of
meetings with the secretary of state and other high officials here.
Unfortunately, the minister has to depart at 7:00. He has to head for New
York, so we’re very glad to have the opportunity to hear him address us at
this statesmen’s forum and then we will have an opportunity for a few
questions and answers after that.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Foreign
Minister Alain Juppé. (Applause)

MR. JUPPÉ: Thank you, Mr. President, for introducing me in
such warm terms. I’m very happy to be among you, not only because here
it’s cooler than at the Second World War Memorial, where I presented the
Légion d’honneur to three veterans a few minutes ago, but also because it’s
an honor for me to speak to you today here in this prestigious institution at a
time that is clearly a turning point in international life.

I’m thinking in particular of the extraordinary changes that are
currently taking place on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Our
vision and our policies with respect to the Arab world have for years been
inspired primarily by a concern of stability. On the one hand, we were
developing close cooperation in order to try and train elites, promote
employment and vocational training, encourage university research and
products in support of young people, and often support for reforms. But at
the same time, we often saw the authoritarian regimes as bastions against
extremism, safeguards against chaos. We allowed ourselves in the name of
security and the fight against terrorism to demonstrate a certain level of
tolerance for the governments that were flouting human rights and curbing
their countries’ development. We turned a blind eye to certain abuses as if
this region of the world didn’t have the right to freedom or modernity.
The Arab Spring changed everything. On December the 17th,
separate from any political or religious movements, we saw a young
Tunisian set himself on fire. Little by little, we witnessed the flame of
freedom spreading throughout the region. We witnessed the Arab world
enter into a process of opting up, of accelerated change and globalization
that is a sign of our times.

France believes that we must not be afraid of this Arab Spring.
First, because it’s the fruit of extraordinary courage. How could we forget
the price of democracy, we who so many times fought side by side to
defend it? How could our two countries who together fought for freedom in
the darkest hours in the history of mankind forget what it costs in spilt blood
when one rises up against barbarity, when one defies a tyrant.

We must not be afraid of the Arab Spring because it’s the fruit
of a tremendous popular momentum. It doesn’t belong to any party or
religion. It’s not the prerogative of any movement, any civil society actor.
It’s the cry of revolt of young people with no future prospects, but who are
open to the world, young people dreaming of a more just and modern
society, but faced with poverty, unemployment, and the rise in food prices.
It’s the political will of responsible citizens rising up against
corruption, police abuse, and human rights violations. It’s an act of faith in
man’s surge forward and its ability to surpass himself.

Above all, we must not be afraid of the Arab Spring because it
embodies universal values: dignity, freedom, respect for human rights, the
right of people to choose their own leaders. Our two countries have never
ceased promoting these values from the French and American revolutions
to the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that
Eleanor Roosevelt and Professor Rene Cassin drafted together in the
aftermath of World War II. This Arab Spring does spark tremendous hope
for all of us.

For all that, we know that this irrepressible movement of
renewal brings with it real risks: the risk that it will be hijacked by extremist
forces; the risk of radicalization; the risk that the freedom of religion, of
belief, will be undermined. I am thinking notably of continued attacks
against the Middle East’s Christians and other religious minorities. France,
as you know, is particularly sensitive to this issue.

We also know that the process of change which is getting
underway will be long and uncertain, that progress may alternate with
backsliding. That’s why we must support the potential for democracy with
all our might without relaxing our efforts. Allowing the flame of hope kindled
by the Arab Spring to go out would be vindicating the defenders of the clash
of civilizations. It would be giving free rein to the incitements to hatred and
appeals for withdrawal. It would mean allowing these values to be crushed.
We have never compromised on these values and the people from the
Southern Mediterranean countries, like all other people, are entitled to them.
Supporting democratic forces in the Arab world means assuming our moral
and political responsibility. It means making a choice that is in keeping with
our values and our strategic interests.

But, obviously, we are facing tremendous challenges. First
and foremost, there is the political challenge. Together, everyone in this
place, everyone assuming its role, we must mobilize our efforts to guarantee
the success of the democratic transition. This applies to the Arab world, to
its leaders, and its peoples. From now on, in all countries on the southern
shores of the Mediterranean, governments know that a regime that fires live
ammunition on its population does not have a future and can no longer
count on the international community’s indulgence. While new social
contracts needs to be redefined, everyone knows that they must now allow
their citizens to voice their opinions.

But every situation is unique and it’s up to each nation with its
history, its culture, and its unique characteristics to write its own future and
to create its own model. That’s a conviction that we share with President
Obama. In certain countries, carried by the winds of freedom of the Arab
Spring, the authorities have made the first move. They have resolutely and
courageously embarked on a process of opening up in order to respond to
the legitimate aspiration of the people. This is the case in Morocco, where
the king has paved the way for major institutional reforms, which we

Other countries, like Tunisia and Egypt, are now immersed in
the delicate process of managing the post-revolution situation. The path
towards freedom is a difficult one, which requires satisfying the legitimate
thirst for democracy and taking the patient and necessary steps toward
democracy, combining the right of everyone to express their views, the
freedom of each individual, and the respect for the law because a state
governed by the rule of law isn’t just a state that guarantees its citizen
rights. It’s also a state based on a hierarchy of norms that everyone has to
respect. Together with its European Union partners, France has, therefore,
confirmed its active support for the transition in Egypt and Tunisia.
And finally, other countries have opted to pursue a brutal
crackdown that will lead nowhere. I’m thinking above all of Libya, where in
light of the Qaddafi regime’s heinous crimes against its people, my country
did everything to get the international community to intervene within the
framework of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 and in accordance
with the principle of the responsibility to protect. We must assume this
principle, the responsibility to protect the civilian population to the very end.
That’s why we are continuing to exert strong military pressure in Libya.
Firstly, so that we don’t leave them to continue suffering the
attacks being perpetrated against them by Qaddafi’s troops. Secondly, to
generate in Libya political room to maneuver while Qaddafi is on the
defensive and increasingly isolated on the international stage. At the G8
Summit on May 26th and 27th in Deauville we achieve major progress in
that Russia took a clear position by affirming the need for Qaddafi’s
departure. This change of position comes in addition to that of several
African countries or head of states, like President Wade of Senegal, who
are beginning to distance themselves from Qaddafi. Who will, therefore, be
inflexible with respect to Qaddafi, who no longer has any legitimacy and
who must leave power? He has also just been indicted by the International
Criminal Court, as you know.

We expect a genuine ceasefire, the liberation of the occupied
zones, and the establishment of a system of international control under the
auspices of the United Nations. At the same time, we are fully mobilized to
support national reconciliation and the launch of an inclusive political
process based on the National Transitional Council whose legitimacy is
increasingly being recognized. This process will give birth to the new Libya.
That is how we conceive of the use of force in Libya as an instrument
serving the law and a political solution that is our shared objective.
As for Syria, the rejection of the reforms and the vicious circle
of violence are no less intolerable than in Libya. We don’t have two different
policies in these two different countries. I would like here to denounce the
crackdown that has once again killed dozens of people in recent days,
notably in Hama; Hama, where the Syrian authorities had already
massacred their own population in 1982; Hama, where history is tragically
repeating itself. Our message to President Bashar al-Assad is clear. It’s
the same message conveyed by the United States: Either he initiates
reforms or he leaves power, there is no other solution.

It’s with this in mind that on France’s initiative the EU decided
that Bashar al-Assad should now also be subject to European sanctions.
It’s also with this in mind that the United States announced the imposition of
sanctions against the president and his entourage. Beyond the European
and American sanction, the Security Council must take a position with each
country assuming its responsibilities. The international community must
make it clear to the Syrian leaders that the crackdown is unacceptable and
they must change course. That is the goal of the draft resolution we are
championing before the Security Council.

In Yemen, lastly, we hope that an orderly, peaceful transition
takes place. The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have developed
a transition plan which remains the best way to resolve the crisis. We hope
that on this basis the Yemenis will swiftly embark on the path of
reconciliation in the spirit of national unity and dialogue, and that they will
again be able to engage in a democratic process. Together with its
European and American partners, France will remain alongside the Yemeni
people in order to help them successfully complete this transition.
So what should we be doing? As President Obama said very
clearly, and France takes the same approach, it is not up to us to decide for
the people or for the nations or to provoke regime changes in independent
countries nor do they expect us to. First we must condemn in the strongest
possible terms all attacks on human rights, using the whole range of
instruments at our disposal to bring an end to them and even intervene if
necessary, but only on the basis of international law, as you are doing in
Libya, not only the principle of the responsibility to protect.

We must also support the countries of the Southern
Mediterranean as they undergo their transition to democracy in a spirit of
trust, friendship, and listening. We have no recipes or lesson to offer them,
but we have experience to share and expertise to convey, particularly with
regard to constitutional law, political systems, public freedoms, and freedom
of the press. It was for this purpose that France recently welcomed a
delegation of Libyan legal and constitutional scholars in Paris.
What we must now reinvent is our whole practice of diplomacy
with the Arab world. We must notably agree to speak with all actors
involved in the changes, including Islamists, without preconceptions,
provided they respect the rules of the democratic game and, of course, the
fundamental principle of rejecting all violence. We must expand the range
of our interlocutors to include all civil society actors and notably young
people and new opinion leaders. This is the mission that I gave to all of
France’s ambassadors to the Arab world, asking them to reorient our
extraordinary diplomatic approach to that end.

I would not correct my text. “Extraordinary” is a bit excessive
maybe to qualify our diplomatic apparatus, our excellent diplomatic
apparatus. (Laughter)

The second challenge — it’s a new copy. (Laughter) The
second challenge we are facing is economic and social. This challenge is
probably the hardest to meet. During my trips to Egypt and Tunisia last
March and April, I met with young activists and I measured the extent of
their hopes and expectation. I also ascertained the intensity of their
impatience. If we do not provide them with answers in the short term and if
the economic situation in their countries continues to inexorably deteriorate,
nothing will prevent the emergence of radical movements. Nothing will
quash the temptation of extremism. It is our responsibility and our interest
to join forces in order to avert this scenario and promote the emergence of
an area of stability and prosperity in this part of the world. That was the
very point of the concrete measures adopted at France’s behest at the G8
Summit in Deauville, attended by the Tunisian and Egyptian prime

The first measure establishes a long-term partnership, both
political and economic, to be expanded eventually to other countries in the
region engaged on the path of reform and to receive the financial support of
the Gulf countries that wish to participate.

The second measure is a $40 billion effort over 3 years
benefitting Egypt and Tunisia. Of that 40 billion, $20 billion is to come from
development banks, 10 billion will be in the form of bilateral aid from G8
members, and 10 other billion will come from the Gulf states. This initial
figure could be increased based on what the IMF is prepared to add.
The G8 tasked its members, finance and foreign ministers,
with implementing this measure. I will work relentlessly in the coming
months to this end in close coordination with Hillary Clinton. And we
decided today during the conversation I had with Hillary to organize a
meeting of the foreign ministers and finance ministers at the beginning of
next September during the General Assembly of the United Nations. In
succeeding one another to the G8 presidency, our two countries — France
and the U.S. — indeed have a particular role to play in this process.
As Europeans, our responsibility is all the greater in that our
special relationship with the Arab world, forged by geography and by
centuries of shared history, places us at the heart of the challenges facing
the Mediterranean. The EU already reaffirmed this shared destiny in 1995,
when in the framework of the Barcelona Process it initiated the policy of
commercial openness toward its southern neighbors. Now it must embrace
it fully. President Sarkozy has clearly expressed by country’s strong
conviction in this regard.

It is with this in mind that Catherine Ashton, the EU High
Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, proposed a
partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern
Mediterranean as well as a complete overhaul of Europe’s Neighborhood
Policy for the 10 countries of the Mediterranean Basin. To meet these
challenges, the EU plans to allocate nearly 7 billion euros in donations
between 2011 and 2013, in the context of its Neighborhood Policy. This aid
will be incentive-based. The EU will increase its financial support to the
country of the Southern Mediterranean that go farther in their democratic
and economic reforms.

On the other hand, it will reexamine or even reduce its efforts
to those that do not institute reforms. We want to make this Neighborhood
Policy a major tool for the Union for the Mediterranean. This ambitious idea,
which brings together the 27 members of the EU and all the countries of the
Mediterranean Basin, was launched in 2008 at President Sarkozy’s behest.
The objective was to create a balanced partnership between the northern
and southern shore based on concrete projects. Unfortunately, the Union
for the Mediterranean ran up against the deadlocked peace process.
The Arab Spring now shows just how prescient this initiative
was. It demonstrates the depth of our shared destiny with our
Mediterranean neighbors and how essential it is to lay out a project that
fosters solidarity, intangible achievements between our two shores. If ever
the political partnership approach underlying the Union for the
Mediterranean is to assume its full meaning it is now. When our
interlocutors will be responsible, new governments that embody the will to
institute democratic change.

That’s why France wants the Union to the Mediterranean to be
revived and to focus on concrete products liable to create solidarity between
the two shores of our shared sea. The new secretary-general, Mr. Youssef
Amrani from Morocco, has just been appointed. His mission will be to
initiate joint projects such as the establishment of a Euro-Mediterranean
office for youth and the development of solar energy.

But no area of prosperity and stability can be consolidated in
the long term without a lasting solution to the two crisis that undermine the
entire region. How can we credibly support democratic transitions if we
don’t respond to the aspiration for change expressed by the Iranian people
since 2009. Faced with an ongoing crackdown, together we must maintain
pressure on the Iranian authorities as we did in Deauville.

We must guarantee respect for human rights, illuminate every
aspect of their nuclear program, and abide by the international communities
demands. This program, whose military purpose is becoming more and
more evident, represents an ever-growing threat to the nonproliferation
system, to original stability, and to the future of Arab transitions. Because,
as we know, the Iranian relationship goal is not a prosperous, democratic
Middle East open to the world. I want to solemnly reiterate the French
determination in dealing with the authorities who have violated all the
international agreements they have signed, whether with regard to the
nuclear issue or to human rights.

How can we maintain our credibility? And this is the second
crisis I want to evoke vis-à-vis the people of the Southern Mediterranean if
we don’t find a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The hopes of the
Palestinians are no less legitimate than those expressed through the Arab
Spring. And Israel, which has the right to live in security and peace, must
further extend its hand, so that the evolution in the Arab world continues
with it and not against it.

The fulfillment of the peace process will make it possible to
usher in a new era of security and stability in the region, helping, in turn, a
way from the extremism and fundamentalism that has long flourished in the
absence of progress and Palestinian rights. The current situation gives rise
to two observations.

The first, which we share with the United States, is that the
status quo is more untenable than ever, particularly in the context of the
Arab spring. Time is not on the side of peace.

And the second observation is that the Palestinian Diplomatic
Initiative at the U.N. this September is clearly fraught with the risk of
polarization and deadlock. We ourselves have not yet reached a decision
on this subject.

From this I conclude that we must do everything we can to try
and revive the credible prospect of a solution as quickly as possible. There
is no alternative to a negotiated solution. We must promote a swift
resumption of direct negotiation, notably taking into account the approaches
mentioned in President Obama’s speech, to implement the two-state
solution, to which there is no alternative.

I conveyed this urgent message to the Israeli and Palestinian
leaders — whom I have just met during my visit to the region last week — in
order to revive negotiations, the only way to bring an end to the conflict. To
this end, France has proposed parameters that equal President Obama’s.
We sought a basis for a compromise that would respond to the expectations
of both parties. This is the framework of our proposal.

This negotiation would first deal with security and border
issues on the basis of the 1967 borders with agreed upon land swaps. And
the fact that President Obama spoke in his last speech of this 1967 border
is a breakthrough we have to put on our agenda.

During a second phase we would deal with Jerusalem and
refugees. These talks must not exceed one year.

Should the parties agree to this approach — we have not yet
the answers except maybe the Palestinian answer, which is rather positive -
 France would be prepared to support the resumption of negotiations in
conjunction with the U.S. administration by hosting a peace conference in
Paris this year. We don’t want to convene such a conference if we are not
sure before that there is an agreement of both parties on the platform of
negotiation. And that’s what we are working on with our American friends.
As for Palestinian reconciliation, I realize that elicits conflicting
reactions. But how can we imagine that a peace agreement would be
respected and would guarantee world security if not all Palestinians were to
adhere to it? For our part we believe that this reconciliation could represent
a chance for peace. That will be the case if it leaves Hamas to evolve in
response to our expectation and our demands. An important initial step
could be for the National Unity Government to agree to reject violence and
to clearly open peace negotiations with Israel, under the authority of
Mahmoud Abbas, based on the principle we hold dear.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have an appointment with
history. We cannot stand back and witness the extraordinary changes
underway as simple spectators. I am sure that you understand that France
is determined to meet these challenges in the U.N. with its allies and within
the EU because our values and our destiny are playing out in this Arab
Spring. That’s why we want to remain proactive, proposing new ideas,
identifying concrete projects on which we can cooperate, and taking action
when the use of military force is necessary to protect civilian population and

My country welcomes President Obama’s courageous vision
and will to act, expressed notably in his speech on May 19th, which opens
up real prospects for the future and bolsters the choices made by France.
With its value and its defining weight, your great country must play a major

"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth".
Amid the Arab Spring, these words of George Washington are particularly
resonant. Let us unite our efforts to help liberty take root on the southern
shores of the Mediterranean true to the spirit of America’s Founding
Fathers, true to our shared values of generosity, democracy, and respect for
human rights. Let us together, with the Arab world, make the Mediterranean
a place of peace, stability, and exchange .

Thank you for your attention. (Applause)

MR. INDYK: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Juppé,
for a very clear, comprehensive, courageous clarion call for support of
freedom in the Middle East. And we’re very grateful to you for that.
Ladies and gentlemen, in case you’re wondering who’s joined
us on the panel, this is the minister’s translator in case he needs to have a
translation of your questions.

So, you made a very clear exposition about the importance of
being consistent in the support for human rights and you, indeed, were very
clear that there’s no difference in the policy of France towards Libya and
towards Syria, but the one thing that I found strange about that was that you
repeated the formula that our president has put out there that Assad should
reform or leave.

But that’s not the position we or you took on Libya, or on Egypt
either. So why the hesitation to say that he should leave? I mean, the
brutal way in which he has suppressed his people violates the very principle
that you so clearly articulated, so I wonder if you could explain what the
hesitation is, if that’s an accurate way of putting it?

MR. JUPPÉ: That is a very good question, as we say when
we don’t know exactly how to answer the question. Every week in the
French National Assembly they have the same question, why do you have a
double standard policy? Why don’t you do the same thing in Libya and in

And my answer is always the same: circumstances are
different. Our position is the same. We have condemned in the same terms
the crackdown in Libya and in Syria, but the evolution of the situation was
different. At the very beginning in Libya, Qaddafi, who is not a very
sympathetic guy for anybody, announced that his military are invading
Benghazi and will massacre in Benghazi all people who have protested
against the regime. And so there was a very clear threat of bloodshed in
Benghazi. And when I was in the Security Council, the moment of the
discussion of the 1973 resolution, I said it was a question of days and
maybe of hours. And so, our involvement stopped this attack by Qaddafi.
In Syria, the situation moves in a different way. At the very
beginning there was a little hope to see Bashar al-Assad, who is more —
how do you say, "fréquentable" in English?

TRANSLATOR: Somebody that we can deal with.

MR. JUPPÉ: Somebody, yeah — announce a program of
reform and his first speech said, these are the reforms I am ready to
implement. We have said that this program was too timid, but we have still
certain hope in the capability of Bashar to move in the good direction. And
that’s why we have waited a certain time before condemning his attitude.
But now, we have done that. The situation is now very clear.
In Syria, the process of reform is dead and we think that Bashar has lost his
legitimacy to rule the country. And so we are in exactly the same position
as we are in Libya.

The consequence you have drawn of this condemnation are
different, of course. In Europe, we have taken our responsibilities and have
adopted sanctions against the regime. And we have adopted a list of
people in Syria to be sanctioned, advisors, for example; the freezing of their
personal assets in Europe. And France demanded that Bashar was at the
top of the list. And we got that.

The situation is completely different in the Security Council.
When we presented the draft resolution on Libya, we have got, and not very
easily, but a majority of nine votes. And we knew that Russia and China
would not veto the draft resolution. It’s not the case today, and we know
that Russia probably will veto any resolution about Syria, even a mild one as
is the text that we are proposing with the British and Americans.

So, what to do? This is a point I discussed with Hillary Clinton.
We think altogether that now we must go ahead and circulate this draft
resolution in the Security Council. We think that it will be possible to get 11
votes in favor of the resolution and we’ll see what the Russians will do. If
they veto, they will take the responsibility. Maybe they see that there is 11
votes in favor of the resolution they will change their mind, though it’s a risk
to take and we’re willing to take it.

MR. INDYK: Thank you. That’s news.

I’m sure there are a lot of questions here. With the minister’s
indulgence, I’ll take three together. I’ll take notes for you, but we’ll try to get
through as many as possible.

Please wait for the microphone. Please make sure you ask a
short question because time is very short here, and then we’ll move on with
the minister’s answers.

At the back there, Said? No, the guy next to you. Sorry.

MR. ARIKAT: Thank you. My name’s Said Arikat from Al
Quds daily newspaper. Thank you, Mr. Minister. I attended your press
conference today with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and there seemed
to be no enthusiasm whatsoever for your call for a peace conference. Do
you consider, as a result of your meeting today, that the idea has lost

MR. INDYK: Let’s take one here.

SPEAKER: Could I ask one since I’ve got the mike?

MR. INDYK: Just wait, please. Yes, please. Here.

MR. VON SCHIRACH: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Minister.
In your —

MR. INDYK: Could you identify yourself, please?

MR. VON SCHIRACH: Sure. Paolo von Schirach, Schirach
Report. In your remarks you pointed out that obviously there’s a
convergence between the need to have political reform and also that there
are huge economic expectations.

Just today in the Financial Times there’s a report about the
IMF providing a bridge loan to Egypt because of its lack of revenue,
essentially, and the disastrous economic outlook, as it is. And you also
mentioned a very large program articulated of aid that is supposed to
support the whole region. My question is, do you think this is going to be
enough given the very significant socioeconomic problems that you correctly
described in terms of young people with no jobs and no prospects and no

That, in other words, the kind of aid that the West and the EU,
in particular, is capable of delivering will be enough to shore up the situation
before it deteriorates? Thank you.

MR. INDYK: We’ll take one from the lady here. Please,
identify yourself.

MS. RALOOF: Enchantée Monsieur le Ministre. My name is
Ali Raloof from The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. I’m also a
citizen of Morocco. And my question to you is, you alluded to the changes
that are happening in the country, but I don’t know if you’re aware that the
recent manifestation [demonstration] has been violently repressed by the
Moroccan state, how serious is France about supporting Morocco’s — the
Moroccan people’s legitimate demands for democratization and
liberalization, despite your country’s very close ties with the monarchy?
MR. JUPPÉ: Yes, as far as the Middle East is concerned, I
wasn’t expecting enthusiasm toward the French initiative when I arrived in
Washington yesterday. But if you have — when perceived what Hillary
Clinton and myself have said, you have understood that our starting point is
the same. We, altogether, think that the status quo in the Middle East is
dangerous and counterproductive.

If nothing moves before next September, the situation next
September in the General Assembly will be difficult for everybody; for the
Europeans because we’ll have to make our decision at this moment.
France said that we’ll take our responsibilities in September. It’s an open
formula, but other European countries will have different choices. I am not
sure that it will be a very comfortable situation for the U.S. It will not be a
success for the American diplomacy, of course.

Even if the Israeli government considers that resolution of the
General Assembly will not change tremendously the situation, I think that
Israel would be more isolated than it is today. And for the Palestinians,
maybe this success, if the resolution passed, could be a — how do you say
in English, "une victoire à la Pyrrhus"?

TRANSLATOR: A Pyrrhic victory.

MR. JUPPÉ: A Pyrrhic victory. Because what will happen
after the vote of the resolution? I’m not sure that the real situation in the
daily life of the Palestinian population would change.

So we agree, the fact — the Americans, the Europeans,
France, of course — that we must do something to evolve the situation in
September. What to do? There is no alternative except the resumption of
the negotiations and that’s why we are pushing both parties to sit again
around the table of negotiations to resume this process. And that’s the spirit
of the proposal I made to President Abbas last week in Rome and to Prime
Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

What did we say? I said, we propose to you a kind of
framework of negotiation, an agenda, a platform of parameters with two or
three important ideas. First, for both parties, renouncing violence; accepting
the formal agreements; and, third, recognizing the state of Israel as a
sovereign state with a guarantee of security; fourth, if the negotiation is a
success — and all other claims after the negotiation. This is the first

And then, the method of negotiation in two steps, inspired by
President Obama’s speech. First we start with the border, the line of 1967,
with mutually agreed swaps, and the question of security.
And then, the second step, the question — the issue of
refugees in Jerusalem. All those issues should be solved in a single
agreement and we wrote in our paper that nothing is agreed before
everything is agreed.

We think this agenda, this platform of negotiation, is an
interesting one. And the first reaction of the Palestinian side is positive.
The Israeli prime minister told me, we are reflecting on it – we are
examining the proposal. It’s not a rejection. It’s not "no." And, for me, it
was a very good surprise to hear that in Jerusalem.

And then with my American counterpart today, we have
decided to work on this idea some more, to work on it, to explore the
possibility of a breakthrough. We are ready to amend the text to change the
process. Maybe the best thing would be a statement by the Quartet and
then a conference. But we agree with the American side, a conference is
useless if before the conference we are not sure that there is an agreement
of the parties on the method of negotiation on the agenda. That’s the point
where we are and so we are continuing this initiative. We’ve relative
optimism, but it’s a chance and we have to take the chance.

The second question about the social and economic situation
in Tunisia and Egypt, you are completely right. The political process of
democratic transition will not succeed if we don’t address the very difficult
economic situation of those countries, not only Tunisia and Egypt, but also
Morocco, to a less degree, and maybe also Jordan.

For example, in Egypt, tourism has completely fallen down
and it’s an important resource for the economy of Egypt. More than a half a
million of refugees came back from Libya to Egypt and they want jobs.
Unemployment is very high. Foreign investors are hesitating, of course, and
people who demonstrated on the Tahrir Place are expecting improvements
in their lives and they demand an increase in wages, and so on.
And so all the ingredients of the economic collapse are
present in both countries. And so we must absolutely help them to avoid
this economic collapse.

You ask me, is it enough? Forty billion dollars is a large
amount of money. The question is not the amount of money, the question is
the rapidity of action. Are you able to give this money for useful projects, of
course, in a really short period of time? And that’s why the G8 instructed
the finance ministers and foreign ministers to act on action plans with
Tunisia and Egypt, in order to mobilize this money as soon as possible, and
have started this process. The Tunisian government has already proposed
an action plan to the Northern countries.

The third question, Morocco — I am rather optimistic on the
situation in Morocco because the king has announced a very ambitious
program of reform. And if this project of a new constitution is really carried
out, it will be a real change in the regime, and maybe the emergence of a
real constitutional monarchy.

So we must help him to implement that. And you are right,
there are some reasonable concern. Demonstrations are continuing in the
streets, but there is no repression. I can’t agree with that. In my
information, I think, there is not the same reaction as in Syria, of course, or
as in Yemen. The regime doesn’t use violent means to stop those
demonstrations. And once more, it’s a question of rapidity. I think that the
king must accelerate his process of reform if he wants to convince the
population of his good will and of his determination. And we have to support
this process.

MR. INDYK: One thing, if I might, Minister? You know,
President Obama was criticized in his also courageous May 19th speech for
not mentioning Saudi Arabia. And you didn’t mention Saudi Arabia, unless I
missed it. So, what’s the message to Saudi Arabia? They’re not exactly
reformers, according to your very clear agenda. How should we deal with
Saudi Arabia?

MR. JUPPÉ: One step by step, eh? (Laughter) But our
message is the same. There is no future for all regimes in the Arab
countries if a process of reform is not launched and implemented. And so
we wish that Saudi Arabia also adopt a program of reform.

MR. INDYK: I think we’ve got time for two quick questions. I
promised the gentleman, up the back, who grabbed the microphone, so
make it quick, please, and please identify yourself. And then we’ll go down
to you with the glasses.

MR. MEYERCORD: Ken Meyercord , Worldox. An American
observer on the events in Libya has commented, “The evidence was not
persuasive that a large-scale massacre or genocide was either likely or
imminent.” That comment was made by Richard Haass, the president of
our Council on Foreign Relations.

If Mr. Haass is right — and he’s a fairly knowledgeable fellow —
then what NATO has done in Libya is attack a country that wasn’t
threatening anyone. In other words, aggression. Are you at all concerned
that as NATO deals more and more death and destruction on the people of
Libya that the International Criminal Court may decide that you and your
friends in the Naked Aggression Treaty Organization should be prosecuted
rather than Mr. Qaddafi?

MR. INDYK: Thank you. Down here, with the spectacles,
please? Please identify yourself.

MR. TANNIS: Yes, Toka Tannis from Hurriyet Turkish Daily.
I’m the Washington correspondent of Hurriyet. Could you comment on the
French government’s relationship with the Turkish government in terms of
this Middle East uprising? You know, because the perception is since Libya
and since Tunisia there’s a kind of a power struggle between two
governments in the region from Libya to Syria.

In Libya, for example, the Turkish government has blamed the
French government, claiming that the French government didn’t wait for the
results of mediation conducted by the Turkish government within the Libyan
opposition and the Libyan government circles in Ankara.

And the second, now you launch the plan in Israeli/Palestinian
conflict while the Turkish government is working on the reconciliation
process within the Hamas and Fatah. Could you frame the relationship
between the two governments? Is there a kind of power struggle in the

And the second one, on the other hand, last week there was a
huge raid in Paris against the PKK, a terrorist organization that — it seems
that’s a quiet cooperation between the two governments, too, you know.
How do you define the relationship with the Turks?

MR. JUPPÉ: Well, on the first question, the history will give
the answer to your question. Just one figure. Everybody who knows the
situation in Libya estimates that the number of casualties, of people killed by
the regime which used planes, tanks, and heavy weapons against its
population, is around 10,000, 15,000 people.

I’m not sure that the coalition did the same job. And, of
course, it’s — you say, "une litote", in English?

TRANSLATOR: Understatement.

MR. JUPPÉ: It’s an understatement. We are fighting for
protecting the population in Libya and I think we are exactly in the respect of
the 1973 resolution. So, I am very serene, calm, with the actions of the ICC.
I remember, though, you, that the ICC is already prosecuting Qaddafi.
On Turkey, I have no time to describe all the relations between
Turkey and France, not only on Libya, but on the whole region. Turkey is a
great country. Turkey is a friend. We have a good relation with Turkey on
many, many levels: economic ones, cultural ones, and so on. I am the
chairman of a very sympathetic institution, the Galatasaray University;
chairman of the "Comité de parrainage", of course; and so you have many
links for historical, geographical, economic reasons with Turkey.
We have a problem with Turkey. France doesn’t support the
candidacy of Turkey to the European Union and it would take half an hour to
explain why because it’s a complex matter. And that’s why the relations
between Turkey and France are so difficult at the moment. But I tried to
warn them and to explain that we want to cooperate with Turkey even in the
resolution of the Libyan crisis. And that’s why we’ve invited Turkey in the
contact group, in Rome, in Doha, this week in Abu Dhabi. We need the help
of Turkey and I’m not sure that Turkey is still blaming the French — not the
French, the NATO intervention in Libya.

And I remind you that Turkey is a member of NATO, so if
Turkey disagrees with the NATO intervention on Libya, Turkey has all the
means to stop this intervention. So I think that the position of Turkey is far
more complicated than you have said.

MR. INDYK: Mr. Minister, unfortunately, our time is up — or
your time is up because you have to catch a plane, but I want to add to my
Cs of clear and courageous, the word candid as well. You’ve been very
gracious sharing your ideas with us in such a clear way and we’re very
grateful to you. Thank you very much.

MR. JUPPÉ: Thank you. Thank you to all of you. (Applause)