University of Toronto G8 Information Centre

SOMMET D'EVIAN 2003
Summit Documents

Briefing with Katherine Colonna,
Spokesperson for France
Evian, June 2, 2003

Unofficial notes by the G8 Research Group

K.C. In this meeting I will address the discussion of the overall objectives of this summit: showing the G8 capacity in strengthening economic growth, making progress in meeting the millennium and Johannesburg commitments, and improving security. Then I will comment on the two bilateral meetings of president Chirac the first one with President Bush and the second with President Putin. Finally I will answer your questions.

On General Discussions:

The conclusions of the summit will be adopted tomorrow this will reflect all the discussion that have taken place in this forum and will translate them into guidelines. However, at the moment, statements have been released on the leaders agreements in responsible markets, commerce, and trade in addition to the implementation report of the Africa Action Plan. There has been an emphasis on the monitoring and implementation aspects of the agreements arising at this summit to make them more effective.

Two specific elements have been underlying the discussions:

-Improve the confidence in the market by improving markets and sustainable development for instance.

-Commitment to trade with the objective of guaranteeing the success of the next Doha round.

I should pay special tribute to the work that has been achieved in the issue of access to medications, where the leaders agreed to reach a solution before Cancun.

In the issue of the exchange rates, there was rather a consensus between leaders.

On the Bilateral Discussions:

The bilateral meeting between Chirac and Bush was a very useful and positive conversation. The tone was warm and friendly and indeed marked by their will to work together. France as much as U.S. wants to be forward looking and does not want to delve into past disagreements. Friendship and solidarity come always together with candid relationships.

Both countries have an interest in the guaranteeing long lasting peace in the Middle East. Chirac supports the ‘road map’ initiative, and agrees that now is a historic opportunity to advance towards peace in the Middle East.

On Iraq both countries are interested in ensuring the success of the resolution 1483.

On Afghanistan France will increase its support by sending special forces to work together with the American operations.

The meeting ended in a positive note; Bush offered books on Aboriginal people in America, which he knew is a topic that interests Chirac a lot. Chirac then said that he shot him right on the spot.

In the meeting with Putin, Chirac congratulated him for the St Petersburg ceremony and stated that it underscored the bonds between Europe and the Russia. Chirac gave Putin an album of the ceremony as a present. The two countries then exchanged ideas on Iraq, Iran and North Korea, issues where these countries positions converge.

The possibility of Russian’s inclusion in the European Union was not address but it was noted that a step was made in St Petersburg by allowing the free circulation of people between Russia and the EU.

The two countries reiterated the importance of their bilateral relationship, particularly in economic matters.

Question and Answers:

Q: Is Europe being left aside in initiatives towards peace keeping in the Middle East?

K.C: No, France thinks that the ‘road map’ is a historical opportunity to achieve peace in the Middle East. The initiative was a result of the ‘Quartet’ of where the EU is part. The Quartet will continue its quest for peace projects and initiatives in the M.E.

Q: Are the tensions between U.S. and France permeating into the prospects for joint projects?

K.C: The substance and performance of their current initiatives were aimed towards present joint successes and succeeded in past disagreements such as Iraq.

Q: Two questions a) what is the consensus on the exchange rates and if there is going to be an attempt to stabilize the U.S. dollar and b) has the issue of the European commission against the GMOs being and famine.

K.C: A) I wont comment anymore on the exchange rates but you can ask it to president Chirac himself at his press briefing.

B) U.S. would call the EU opposition into question with this argument but no link has been established between to support it.

Q: Why all of a sudden there is so much optimism in resolving the access to medication before the WTO meeting

K.C: Though the moratorium of a resolution still continues the presidents have manifested their common will to find a solution before Cancun.

Q: Regarding WMD

K.C: This was discussed in the working lunch though it was not part of the agenda. It is further being discussed at the session happening at the moment, so I can’t talk about results yet.

In the bilateral meetings Bush, Putin, and Chirac gave the same message with regards to Iran manifesting a strong unity in asking Iran to respond to the demand of accepting the IAE international Protocol.

Q: Is France sending special forces to the Iraq for economic reasons?

K.C: The French decision is based on its interest to take part in supporting U.S. restoration projects.

Q: You mention that France will send forces to Afghanistan, but there are already French operations in there, just to confirm: is France increasing its presence in Afghanistan with new forces?

K.C: Yes, the decisions taken and announced today are based on different of forces.

Q: A) What was discussed between Chirac and Putin with regards to North Korea?

B) Did Chirac and Bush raised the issue of WMD in Iraq and the fact that they haven’t been found.

K.C: North Korea was discussed at length yesterday. It was established that N.K. constitutes a threat to the global stability but to addressed it peaceful means. On this Chirac welcomes China’s initiative of enhancing a dialogue that would perhaps lead to systematic missions from the Security council inspectors.

Q: Regarding development discussions at the G8

The G8 confirmed the commitments from the Monterrey consensus. Also its Kananaskis commitments of increasing ODA by 50% and directing a very significant portion of it to Africa.

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