France condemns Ahmadinejad 'racist hate'
France and delegates from other EU member states walked out of the UN racism conference in Geneva after Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a speech said to promote “racist hate”.PARIS – France accused Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of promoting "racist hate" in his latest attack on Israel Monday, after its ambassador walked out of the UN racism conference in Geneva.
"The president, who had already rejected the unacceptable statements made by the Iranian president in other circumstances, condemns utterly this hate speech," said President Nicolas Sarkozy's office.
"He calls for the European Union to take an extremely firm stance," it added, in a statement issued in Paris after France's UN ambassador quit the Durban Review Conference in Geneva as Ahmadinejad denounced Israel.
"The United Nations conference that opened on Monday in Geneva had a goal that should have united and mobilised the international community: the struggle against all forms of racism," Sarkozy's statement said.
"The speech given by the President of Iran was the exact opposite: an intolerable appeal to racist hate, it tramples on the ideals and values recorded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
The United States and some European states had boycotted the conference in the expectation that Ahmadinejad and others would use it to single out Israel, and France warned beforehand that its envoy would leave if he did so.
Delegates from other EU member states also walked out of the Geneva meeting when Ahmadinejad criticised what he branded the creation of a "racist government" in the Middle East, in a clear reference to Israel.
"I hope this protest gesture inspires the international community to take notice," added Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in a second statement.
"The defence of human rights and the fight against all types of racism are too important for the United Nations not to unite against all forms of hate speech, against all perversion of this message," he said.
"Faced with attitudes like that which the Iranian president has just adopted, no compromise is possible."
AFP / Expatica