Segolene says Rainbow Warrior didn't come up

5th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 4, 2006 (AFP) - France's Ségolène Royal, one of three candidates for the Socialist Party presidential nomination, said Wednesday that her brother never talked to her about his role in the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior sinking.

PARIS, Oct 4, 2006 (AFP) - France's Ségolène Royal, one of three candidates for the Socialist Party presidential nomination, said Wednesday that her brother never talked to her about his role in the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior sinking.

Gérard Royal, a member of the French DGSE intelligence agency, never spoke about the controversial incident "because he respected the laws of his service... in those services they maintain secrecy," Royal said in an interview with French TF1 television.

"I have a brother who, some 20 years ago, was a combat swimmer and for whom I have a lot of admiration, and who was involved in a detestable action, but he received orders for that," said Royal, who like Greenpeace in 1985 was opposed to the French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

But last week the issue flared up in her bid to become France's first woman president when Antoine Royal, another brother of Ségolène, told Le Parisien newspaper that Gérard was a member of the French intelligence sabotage squad that planted the bombs on the Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand's Auckland harbor.

"At the time, (Gerard) was a lieutenant and agent of the DGSE in Asia. He was asked in 1985 to go to New Zealand, to Auckland harbour, to sabotage the Rainbow Warrior," Antoine said.

A Greenpeace photographer was killed in the attack on the Rainbow Warrior which was targeted in a bid to stop it launching a campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The operation came to be seen as an ill-conceived and executed disaster for French intelligence and a blight on the record of then Socialist president François Mitterrand.

"There are some times when the state is wrong, its orders are disproportionate, and when the orders lead to the death of a man and put soldiers in danger, it is very regrettable," Royal told TF1 television.

The other two candidates vying to be the Socialist nominee in France's presidential election in April are former prime minister Laurent Fabius and former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The internal Socialist party vote for its candidate will be held on November 16.

Royal, who currently heads the council of the western Poitou-Charentes region and is considered the frontrunner, is also the partner of the Socialist Party leader François Hollande, who is the father of her four children.

She also said in the television interview that Holland will remain impartial in the party's contest for a nominee.

" François is right to remain impartial as the head of a political organization, because if not others will reproach him for it, and there is no point in creating more quarrels, there is already enough of that," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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