France in Afghanistan

(update : March 2009)

1. Statements made by François Fillon(during the public debate at the National Assembly on Afghanistan, on April 1st):
"I am aware that the assembly is supporting our troops and that they have not been forgotten. Afghanistan must never again become a refuge for international terrorism. Afghanistan remains vulnerable and is a sensitive strategic area. Its neighbours include central Asia which is seeking to develop, Iran who is undermining the rules of the international community, a democratic India struggling against threats and Pakistan which has a nuclear weapon and is under the pressure of fundamentalists. (...) In response to the request made by President Karzaï France will be organizing a conference to be held in June in Paris serving to further mobilize the international community. (...) The successes remain insufficient and fragile. (...) Securing the country, increasing its social and economic development and accelerating the exercising of full national sovereignty by Afghan authorities requires perseverance and a renewal of the common strategy. (...)

Three options are available. :
- Either we withdraw our troops (...) which would be signalling that we no longer assume our responsibilities towards NATO and would fracture the solidarity that unites us with our most loyal allies, many of whom are increasing their efforts. The fate of Afghanistan would become indifferent. (...)
- Either we choose the status quo. This would mean abandoning our objectives and would signify that France is powerless to contribute to the strategy of the international community.
- Or we increase our efforts under the conditions that we have suggested and together we increase the chances for peace.

2. During his statement before the deputies the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs declared that “rights and security are intricately linked and this is the approach we wish to develop”. Bernard Kouchner indicated that France wishes to fulfill its duty of solidarity with its NATO allies: “There have been specific requests notably from the Netherlands and Canada. It is impossible to shy away from our responsibilities. This commitment honors France.”

The Defence Minister, Hervé Morin, reiterated the reasons France became engaged in Afghanistan: “We are there to combat terrorism. Withdrawing would entail resigning and would threaten our medium term security. We must take a global approach: governance, development, the coordination of the military and civil methods and to ensure that the Afghans have complete control of their police force and their justice. Our military is motivated and enthusiastic when it comes to defending human rights and liberty”. Mr. Hervé Morin gave details regarding the cost of the French engagement in Afghanistan: the cost is between 150 and 200 million Euros. The cost of military stabilization operations is estimated to total 700 million Euros and should reach 850 million in 2008.

- Debate on the vote of no confidence speech by M. François Fillon, Prime Minister, to the National Assembly - excerpts
Paris, 8 April 2008

- Franco-British summit final declaration (London, 27 March 2008) - Extracts

Afghanistan is a strategic challenge. With the support of the Afghan government, we are determined to stay with our Allies as long as necessary to ensure stability of the country. We will continue to work on rebuilding Afghanistan as a top priority, with the objective of enabling the Afghan population and institutions to take responsibility of the future of their country. And together we will continue to promote effective governance and rule of law. We will renew our efforts to tackle the scourge of the narcotics industry, which funds the insurgency, fuels corruption and criminality and undermines the prospects for development for the people of Afghanistan. France and UK call on all partners to join their effort for the success of the Support Conference to be held in Paris in June;

- Interview with Daniel Jouanneau, French Ambassador in Canada and Mike Duffy , Question period CTV, Ottawa, April 3rd, 2008

- 44th Conference on Security Policy – Speech by M. Hervé Morin, Minister of Defence (excerpts), February 15th, 2008

- Interview with Daniel Jouanneau, French Ambassador in Canada on CBC, October 28th, 2007

- International Conference in support of Afghanistan (Paris, June12th, 2008)

- Map of Afghanistan

Last modified on 03/03/2009

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