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Reactions to the anti-Islam film (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - September 18, 2012)

Q : A few words about the demonstrations prompted by the much talked about anti-Islam film. Can you give us an update about specific concerns relating to French interests and does the Salafist demonstration this weekend in Paris change things?

A : There are a number of things I’d like to say:

1. What triggered these demonstrations, not just in the Arab world, but in the Muslim world in general, is a despicable movie. In any event, nothing can justify what happened in Libya, because in Libya, there wasn’t just a demonstration but the murder of the U.S. ambassador and 3 of his colleagues in that country.

2. There haven’t been any specific threats to French diplomatic and consular premises in these countries. Having said that, we’ve delivered two messages.

-  The first message was directed at French nationals in general, and I reaffirm that we have approximately 300 French citizens in Libya and around 20 in Benghazi. We sent a message conveying the need to exercise vigilance and caution, in order to ensure that they avoid taking any risks or expose themselves to unnecessary risk. We did this notably through SMS messages and through all means available to us in order to reach the French communities abroad.

-  The second message was directed at the authorities of these countries in order to remind them that, in accordance with international conventions, it’s the host country that should bear the primary responsibility for the security of diplomatic and consular missions. It’s an obligation that we’ve reaffirmed to these countries, and at the same time, we’ve sent a message conveying the need for our personnel to exercise caution and we’ve improved the security of our sites, which means, in very practical terms, greater security at the entrances to our premises.



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