France warns Ahmadinejad against racist attacks
France will attend the anti-racism conference in Geneva, but warns that Europe will walk out if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes "anti-Semitic accusations" during the event.PARIS – France warned Monday that Europeans would walk out of a UN anti-racism conference if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes "anti-Semitic accusations" during the event.
"We will have to be very clear. We will not tolerate any slips," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told France Info radio.
He warned Ahmadinejad that "if he utters racist or anti-Semitic accusations, we will leave the room immediately."
Ahmadinejad slammed Israel and "Zionist ideology" as "the flag bearers of racism," before leaving for the United Nations meeting in Geneva, where he is due to speak at around 3:00 pm (1300 GMT).
"If he has any sense, he will not repeat that in the room. If he does say it inside the room, all the European ambassadors will stand up and leave," Kouchner said when asked about the Iranian leader's outburst.
Israel and the United States have boycotted the five-day conference for fear it will be used as an anti-Israel platform.
EU states have split over whether to attend with Germany, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands -- along with Australia and Canada -- joining the boycott.
But France said on Sunday it would be present, along with Britain, in order to "articulate its standpoint on human rights issues."
The Iranian president, so far the only prominent head of state due to attend the Durban Review Conference, has repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and questioned the Holocaust as a "myth".
The United States and Israel walked out of the landmark World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001 after a row with some Muslim states about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and anti-Semitism.
AFP / Expatica