Mr Secretary General,
It is a very special pleasure for me to welcome you to the Principality for the opening of this Monaco Club Conference that takes on even more importance than usual in these times when the Southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea is undergoing such major changes.
The Monaco Club has the specificity of gathering personalities with a truly exceptional wealth of experience and variety of horizons.
The eminent positions you have held on various accounts have given you the perception and wisdom to enable you to look on such complex events with the insight to render a very fine in-depth analysis.
We know here that, after the temporary political solutions found with the establishment of transitional authorities, implementing economic and social reforms will be a lengthy process while the requirements remain essential.
Confronted with these stakes, the European nations much remain open to the message from the countries concerned.
Recent events assuredly give us a very special opportunity to develop new ties with the countries on the Southern shore of the Mediterranean.
They also require that we do our utmost to avoid all that could encourage fundamentalism in all forms.
Are not the principles defended on the opposite shore, incidentally, the same as ours in the name of basic universal rights?
Alongside the Monaco Club members, we must observe these situations with gravity and respect. Profound feelings of hope inspire populations that have come to believe in their futures.
I am truly convinced that, if the peoples on both sides of the Mare Nostrum strive for the cultures of this Basin to meet in a common momentum towards the respect for dignity, a new era will open there. Such is the challenge facing us, that it is our duty to accept together.
Please allow me, Ladies and Gentlemen, to pay tribute on behalf of all of you to the tireless dedication with which HE Claude de Kemoularia has run the Monaco Club for so many years.
An impassioned observer of the Middle East, a true connoisseur of Mediterranean lands, our friend decided to put a cap on his travels and take a little rest, while remaining the Club's Founding President.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank him from the bottom of my heart.
My best wishes for great success go to the personality who agreed to accept to take up the torch, HE Patrick Leclercq, our former Minister of State, whose diplomatic skills, I am certain, will enable the Club to remain that precious venue for reflection and exchange to which we are very much attached.
I wish you a very fruitful meeting. Thank you.