Leading humanitarian is likely foreign minister

14th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 14, 2007 (AFP) - Bernard Kouchner, a world-renowned humanitarian who founded the Doctors with Borders (MSF) charity and served as the UN's representative in Kosovo, is likely to be France's next foreign minister, aides to president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.

PARIS, May 14, 2007 (AFP) - Bernard Kouchner, a world-renowned humanitarian who founded the Doctors with Borders (MSF) charity and served as the UN's representative in Kosovo, is likely to be France's next foreign minister, aides to president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.

The 67-year-old, a member of the opposition Socialist Party, was approached by Sarkozy over the last few days and "is ready to enter the government," they said.

According to Le Monde newspaper, he was to see Sarkozy on Monday afternoon for talks centring on a future minister's range of responsibilities.

Sarkozy, 52, a right-winger who advocates radical economic reforms, beat the socialist Segolene Royal in elections on May 6 and takes over from Jacques Chirac on Wednesday. He is expected to announce his full government on Friday.

Kouchner founded the international medical charity MSF in 1971 after working as a doctor in Biafra. Following a rift with other founder members, he set up a second organisation -- Doctors of the World -- in 1980.

He was in successive PS governments from 1988, most recently serving as health minister under prime minister Lionel Jospin.

From 1999 to 2001 he was the UN's High Representative in Kosovo, where he oversaw the creation of civilian and political institutions following the NATO bombing campaign to drive out Serb forces.

Kouchner is famous for developing the theory of "humanitarian intervention" to justify international action against dictators who flout human rights.

In the run-up to the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he was strongly critical of French policy which he said had encouraged the US and Britain to go to war without UN backing.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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