Florence Aubena’s release was possible thanks to the 158 days of mobilization as we did in the Christian Chesnot and George Malbrunot case. In this negotiation we turned to the strength of Quai d’Orsay [Foreign Relations] and the Ministry of Defense. I even had meetings every night to assess the situation. A few weeks ago, we were able to establish a reliable and indirect link with the kidnappers due to which hostages were released. We were patient and we took time into account. The calls of the Muslim community in France and the Arab countries were useful too. However, I don’t want to confront Mister Julia on the acceleration of the process related to the change of government.
Since Chesnot and Malbrunot’s kidnap, a very compact and limited contingent was created. It was a group formed by high-ranking officials of Quai d’Orsay, Matignon [Prime Minister’s residence] and the DGSE [Intelligence services] which worked under the command of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin political authority. Although different and carried out by other groups and networks, this first kidnap case taught us to be discreet. Nevertheless, the identity of the group is still unknown. Right now, while I am addressing to you, we don’t have much information about it.
Regarding this, I think I did my job. I praise Florence Aubenas’ parents and family’s dignity and courage as well as the journalists’ sense of responsibility. Today, we remember the Ingrid Betancourt case and those of Guy Georges Kieffer in Ivory Coast and Fred Nerac in Iraq which have not been solved yet.
Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.
“J’ai fait mon travail, la mission a été remplie”, by Michel Barnier, Le Figaro. Text adapted from an interview.