Interview du Président de la République à la chaîne américaine "PBS"

Interview accordée par M. Jacques CHIRAC, Président de la République, à la chaîne américaine "PBS"


New York, États-unis d'Amérique, le lundi 8 juin 1998

QUESTION - Thank you Mr. President to be with us. You have hundreds of thousands of soccer fans coming to France this week for the World Cup Championschip and you have Air France pilots on strike and other transportation workers treathening to strike. How do you think this makes France look to the rest of the world ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - First, we have only the Air France strike for planes, not in other sectors. I hope we will find a solution very soon in the next days. But I can tell you that all our guests will be very very well welcomed on planes, as many other compagnies go to France.

QUESTION - Do you think strikes like this reflect the resistance that some French workers feel to the new demands of the market economy, the coming Euro, the European currency ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - I would not say that. We have a French social model and we want to keep it. And the point is that we cannot accept to leave people out of the society. Exclusion, we cannot accept that. It is not in the French culture.

We are competitive and we can be competitive but also keep the roots of our social model. That is what we want to do and that is what we will do.

QUESTION - Let's turn now to events to South Asia. How dangerous is it for the rest of the world that India and Pakistan now have nuclear weapons ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Well, it is very dangerous, very dangerous for two reasons : first, because it means new tensions in that area of the world between India, Pakistan, China and even over, and second, because we are going to break the nuclear proliferation treaty system ; and this is very dangerous. That is why we condemned, both the Americans and French - or the Europeans - we condemned those tests made by India and Pakistan and we hope that a solution will come. But this solution should keep the rules of the Non-proliferation Treaty. This is our position, it is also the American position.

QUESTION - France, however, and the other European countries did not join the United States and Japan in imposing economic sanctions on India and Pakistan. Why not ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Well, there is not a great difference. The sanctions did not avoid the tests -even if Pakistan and India knew perfectly that sanctions from America and Japan would come- and we think it is not the good way to avoid proliferation, but this is a kind of a detail. Let me tell you that if the sanctions are decided, you will have a very big trauma in Pakistan, not in India, but in Pakistan. Many people will suffer with those sanctions, millions and millions of kids, families, poor people, and this will drive Pakistan to ask help to the muslim countries. And what can they give in exchange ? Nuclear technology. Then all of this is a kind of danger.

QUESTION - And by saying they would go to muslim countries, you mean countries for instance like Iran ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Muslims or the muslim world, and this is a danger and we have to be careful.

QUESTION - What should the international community do now to try to contain the damage of India and Pakistan having these weapons ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - First, they have to be very firm. We all share the same goal which is " no proliferation " and respect to the Non-proliferation Treaty.

QUESTION - Saturday, the UN Security Council voted to demand that Pakistan and India stop testing, not export the technology ; both India and Pakistan reacted badly according to reports. I saw, they said it was " unhelpful, coercive ", I mean, what reasons do you have to think that India and Pakistan are sensitive to or can be affected by what you all say ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Well, they reacted badly, I think, for political reasons, not for technical reasons. They think that they are humiliated by the other nuclear countries and they react. It is a problem of face, they do not want to be humiliated. We must understand that but I think if we discuss with them, they can sign the CTBT and also they could accept the cut-off system. This would be a great progress.

QUESTION - Do you think we are entering a new era now, however, in which they are going to be several new nuclear states in the world ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Well, that is a reality.

QUESTION - Certainly so, do you think they will be others in addition to India and Pakistan ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - That is a reality, it is possible I mean. There is a risk and that is why we cannot change the Non-proliferation Treaty because we would open the door to quite a lot of new countries.

QUESTION - India says, and Pakistan says it also, that the existing nuclear powers helped both of them become nuclear powers and that is where the technology comes from. Do you think that there is more that the existing powers can do just themselves to make sure they are not transfering technology to other countries, let say Iran or Iraq or Lybia ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - It is very difficult to avoid transfering technologies. And if we put India and Pakistan into a corner, we can have a situation in the future where they transfer technologies because they have the technologies, more or less, but they have it, and they can transfer it to other countries. We are talking about Iran now, but maybe others later.

QUESTION - This is a major area of differences between the United States and France, so in terms of to what degree countries like the United States and France engaged in commerce with Iran or Iraq, other countries that are believed to be working on nuclear weapons programs.

LE PRÉSIDENT - We have, I mean the European Union, have a different point of view from the Americans about the commercial links between them and some countries. And the United States have unilateral or extraterritorial laws such as Helms-Burton and the Europeans can not accept such laws.It's not fair and we cannot accept and we will never accept that one country, even if it is the United States, could set for everybody rules which would not have been discussed.

QUESTION - Finally, briefly I would like to ask you about Kosovo. The Serbs are continuing to shell in the Southern part of Kosovo as you know. What do you think the West should do about this ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - May I remind you that when I was elected, we had a dramatic situation in Bosnia. The UN soldiers were humiliated and I decided to react very firmly and I decided the special force, the rapid reaction force, which we created, and the situation was much better very soon.

I have the same will about Kosovo, the same determination. We cannot accept the ethnic cleansing policies. We cannot and we have to be very firm. We, the contact group with the United States, Russia, the Europeans, are going to meet within two or three days in Paris and I hope we will stay all together to decide to be very firm to Serbs, to President Milosevic, including military action which of course should be decided by the UN Security Council. I agree completely with the demand of the British on this subject.

And this should be done also using the Founding Act NATO/Russia. This could be done by NATO, I repeat in the frame of the founding act NATO/Russia, because we have to have Russia with us in the contact group and with the authorization of the UN Security Council.

QUESTION - And would you expect the United States to also participate militarily if this should be a NATO action ?

LE PRÉSIDENT - Of course.

QUESTION - Thank you very much Mr. President. Thank you for being with us.

LE PRÉSIDENT - Thank you very much.

dépêches AFPD3 rss bottomD4 | Dernière version de cette page : 2004-10-17 | Ecrire au webmestre | Informations légales et éditoriales | Accessibilité