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17 September 2008 - Sudan - Media Stakeout: Informal comments to the Media by the Permanent Representative of France, H.E. Mr. Jean-Maurice Ripert

Is France in any discussion at all with the Sudanese on the possible invocation of article 16 ?

Sudan and article 16 are not the same. Article 16 is a question regarding the ICC.

I know, it is two separate questions...

It is my answer.

Regarding Sudan, we are very clear on the relationship we have with them and we are engaged in talks, in discussions, like all the other countries on the planet.

We have received some ministers in Paris, we have sent some officials to Khartoum. We are trying, to tell the Sudanese - and I think everybody else is doing the same to my knowledge , I had a very extensive talk with the Representative of the African Union, and my feeling is that we are passing exactly the same kind of messages- first : stop the killings and stop the military actions in Darfur. The people in Darfur need peace, they deserve peace. Do what you can for alleviating this suffering and improve the humanitarian access to Darfur. Second : increase and improve the capacity of the authorities to participate in a political dialogue with all the opposition forces. Third : improve your relationship with Chad, because of course - and it is not a question of who is responsible for what - the two countries have to work together. We hope that the commitment they have taken to renew diplomatic relations is good. And the fourth point of course is : cooperate with the ICC. I said it repeatedly, this is our position. Whatever they do, they have to cooperate officially with the ICC. If they want to try their own citizens in their own country, this is allowed by the treaty, but they have to do that in agreement with the ICC. It is never too late to cooperate. There are two indictees, Mr Haroun et Ali Kushayb they can cooperate with the ICC to see away how to trial those people if they want to cooperate. We will see then what happens.

If there were a series of conditions placed on a possible article 16 suspension of investigation or any future indictment of President Bechir, would France in theory be open to the idea of providing these conditions help the Darfur peace process ?

For the moment there is no initiative to my knowledge, so the question is not raised. If the question is raised, we will see, we will see the circumstances. If they stop bombing and killing in Darfur, if they cooperate for the deployment of UNAMID, which is of course one of the conditions we put for the United Nations’ operation they have themselves accepted, if they have a fully inclusive political dialog, if there is no more problem with Chad, and if they have some internal disposition which has been approved by the ICC regarding the trail of criminals, why not ?

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