-DURBAN II: Double-talk by France?


France will participate. The ‘red line’ has been crossed.

DECEMBER 13, 2008 –  At the invitation of Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France (CRIF) in Marseille, Madame Rama Yade, the French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights last week attended a conference organized by CRIF, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In her speech Madame Rama Yade emphasised the necessity of the struggle for dignity and justice for all.  With respect to Durban II, she was quoted as saying that France opposes recognition of the concept of defamation of religions and reaffirms the vigilance of France and the European Union to prevent the crossing of ‘red lines’, repeating in essence, similar words spoken by President Sarkozy at the annual CRIF dinner held in February of this year.

President Sarkozy said at the time:

“The Durban conference in 2001 led to intolerable excesses from certain states and numerous NGOs that turned the conference into a forum against Israel. No one has forgotten. A follow-up conference is planned for 2009. Mr. President [of CRIF], you asked me a question. I will answer very frankly. France will not allow a repetition of the excesses and abuses of 2001. Our European partners share France’s concerns. France will chair the EU in the final months preceding the review conference. I say to you: if ever our legitimate demands are not taken into account, we will disengage from the process. I think my answer is unambiguous.”

So far so good.  However, Madame Rama Yade it seems, turned out to be less forthcoming than her president.

She said to an audience that included the consuls of Israel, Turkey, Germany, Egypt and the Netherlands,  “An empty chair, (referring to France’s attendance), is not a solution in itself.” She added: “France will participate in the conference in Durban II, which will take place in Geneva in 2009” and hopes that “Israel and the United States will rethink their position.”  The Secretary of State made no reference to Canada’s decision earlier this year to boycott Durban II. And she was incorrect in saying the U.S. has declared it will also boycott the conference.

As one well-known Durban II French lobbyist has said:  “France is ready to sacrifice anything and everything for results. It will not achieve real economic advantages with totalitarian countries, whether Muslim or Chinese or Russian, also to avoid terrorist attacks on French soil. Neither of these has ever been achieved nor will be.”

Take note Madame Rama Yade. Take note.

Sources: CRIF., Eye on the UN.

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