This material appears on the "Embassy of France" website. I almost fell out of my chair when I read it. http://www.info-france-usa.org/news/statmnts/2004/un_assembly092004.asp Statements made by Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic, during his joint press conference with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, Ricardo Lagos Escobar, President of Chile, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, President of the Government of Spain (excerpts). New York , September 20, 2004 THE PRESIDENT Id like especially to thank President Lula who has created what to my mind is an unprecedented momentum for movement on the basis of the proposals made. The very clear final declaration has already been signed by 110 countries. This is absolutely remarkable, and shows that the issue of fighting poverty by other mechanisms in addition to the traditional Official Development Assistance is now inescapable, since we cant stand in the way of such a groundswell of international public opinion manifested by such a large number of this communitys political leaders. Let me add that the top International Monetary Fund and World Bank officials have said very clearly that for the international financial institutions our declarations proposals were technically feasible and politically desirable. So I think weve entered a new phase today in the affirmation of international solidarity and fight against world poverty. Im delighted by this. Thank you. US/IRAQ/FRANCE Q. You said your government would welcome US policy becoming more multilateralist. This has been interpreted here as support for Kerrys candidature. If this is the case, why, reportedly, wont you send French troops to Iraq in December, in January, to tell the Americans that theres the possibility of finding more support in the world? THE PRESIDENT (...) Ill simply say that Frances policy on Iraq hasnt changed and wont change. And, secondly, since the name of a United States [presidential] candidate has been mentioned, Ill simply say that I dont interfere in United States domestic affairs. GLOBAL TAXATION Q. (...) President Chirac, you have asked Tony Blair to put the issue you discussed today on the July G8 agenda. The Americans are known to be totally opposed to all [global] taxation. What argument are you going to use to convince them, we know in particular that George Bush is totally opposed to any [global] taxation? THE PRESIDENT In the first place, [global] taxation isn't the only method envisaged. But as far as Im concerned, I think it's a necessity. Secondly, we have to look in detail, technically, at what is taxed. Now, you tell me that the American President is against it. I know, but let me point out to you that we are right in the middle of an election campaign and, as President Lula was rightly saying just now, let's wait a bit for the dust to settle and definitive positions to be taken. (...) We'll talk to the Americans to see under what conditions we can actually implement mechanisms allowing us to find, release the essential resources which, added to Official Development Assistance coming from governments budgets, will make it possible to attain the Millennium Goals. IRAQ/US HOSTAGE Q. When you were in session, television stations here were broadcasting pictures of an American civilian who has been beheaded, who had been held hostage since last Thursday. I wanted to know your reaction to this, given that two of our compatriots are also being held hostage in Iraq? THE PRESIDENT My reaction is that of anyone, any man, woman, worthy of the name, i.e. one of horror and incomprehension. Of course, I'm thinking of the two French hostages and their Syrian companion, men who were only doing their job and thus not offending anyone, not doing anyone harm. As you know, the French authorities have, of course, made active efforts to get their return. Naturally, I shall not comment on them and I make again a solemn appeal to justice and humanity for the release of these two journalists and their companion./.