Envoy slams 'racist' anti-French campaign in US

15th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

LOS ANGELES, April 14 (AFP) - France's ambassador to the United States Wednesday denounced what he called a "racist campaign" against the French waged by US media and fueled by the Pentagon since the start of war in Iraq.

LOS ANGELES, April 14 (AFP) - France's ambassador to the United States Wednesday denounced what he called a "racist campaign" against the French waged by US media and fueled by the Pentagon since the start of war in Iraq.

Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, told staff, students and diplomats at the University of California at Los Angeles that Fox News and the New York Post, media baron Rupert Murdoch's properties, led the onslaught with a daily barrage of insults.

"It was a racist campaign," he said in a speech to the university's School of Public Policy and Social Research. "We were insulted just because we were French and it was unfair and dangerous."

He said such a campaign would never have been tolerated in the United States if had it been directed against blacks or Jews.

The envoy said the campaign of disinformation included "lies from the Pentagon," but said it ended quickly after he lodged a complaint with US Secretary of State Colin Powell last year.

He cited a Washington Times report in May - the substance of which he said originated from the US Department of Defense - that falsely stated France had supplied passports to top officials from Saddam Hussein's regime to allow them to flee Iraq following the US-led occupation.

The wave of insults and disinformation spurred by France's opposition to the US invasion of Iraq has since been halted and relations between the two countries and their peoples were strong, he said.

"We went through a real diplomatic hurricane. It is now time to de-escalate," he said, adding that a planned June 5 summit between US President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac and other top-level meetings would help that process.

© AFP                                                   

                                                         Subject: French news

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