Statement by French President Jacques Chirac at French Ambassadors' Conference (Excerpts)

August 29, 2005

Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Ministers, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to the Elysee Palace for this opening session of the French Ambassadors' Conference, which is taking place with the participation of Mr. Douste-Blazy and the members of Government who assist him in his work.

Under sometimes difficult and always demanding conditions, you convey the message of France, a universal message serving human dignity and progress. Our Republic's values of freedom, justice and solidarity, the values that underpin our social compact, set our message apart and provide reference points in a world in search of new equilibria. Now more than ever, France must take action as part of the vanguard, and you must take the lead in this vanguard.

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Meanwhile, proliferation crises fuel regional instability and threaten strategic balances.

The use of civilian nuclear energy, which is perfectly legitimate, must not serve as a pretext for pursuing activities that could actually be aimed at building up a military nuclear arsenal. All guarantees must be given that nuclear programmes undertaken are for peaceful purposes.

In the case of Iran, the IAEA showed that Iran conducted a secret nuclear programme in the past. France, Germany and the United Kingdom thereupon embarked on a dialogue with Iran, which they pursued under IAEA auspices in cooperation with Russia, in full transparency with the United States and in association with our European Union and G8 partners as well as with China. The goal of the approach remains to persuade Teheran to provide objective guarantees of the civilian nature of its programme. We have at the same time shown that we are prepared to undertake broad-based political, economic and energy cooperation with Iran.

Today I call on the Iranian authorities to choose the path of cooperation and confidence by carefully examining Europe's offer and resuming their commitment to suspend activities related to the production of fissile materials, in accordance with the requirements of the Paris agreement. The European offer is commensurate with the role that the great country of Iran should play in the world, for it is an important role that has its place. There is room for dialogue and negotiation. We call on Iran's spirit of responsibility to restore cooperation and confidence, failing which, the Security Council would have no choice but to take up the issue, and this is something I would feel very sorry about.

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