France's Kouchner slams Bin Laden's 'unacceptable threats'
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Thursday denounced Islamist militant leader Osama bin Laden's threat of new attacks and said France was in a state of "extreme vigilance."
Kouchner was reacting after a taped message purportedly from the Al-Qaeda kingpin said that five French hostages kidnapped in the Sahara had been taken as a warning, and threatened more attacks on French interests.
"The unacceptable threats are not new," Kouchner told reporters, playing down Bin Laden's influence over the North African Al-Qaeda affiliate that carried out September's kidnap of the French nationals in northern Niger.
"Mr Bin Laden has taken this opportunity. It was opportunism. It's not him, it's not Mr Bin Laden who is holding the hostages, it's much more complicated than that," Kouchner said, on the sidelines of a diplomatic meeting in Paris.
© 2010 AFP