Home | News    Thursday 7 September 2006

French FM speaks of Darfur "genocide" for first time

Sept 6, 2006 (PARIS) — French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Wednesday condemned what he called the "genocide" in the Sudanese province of Darfur — the first time a French government figure has used the term.

Philippe Douste-Blazy

"France is taking steps to stop the genocide as fast as possible," he said on Radio Monte Carlo, recalling that France has backed a UN Security Council resolution to deploy a beefed-up UN force in Darfur.

The term "genocide" has been used by the US to describe militia actions against the civilian population of Darfur, but the word is angrily rejected by Khartoum and has not been taken up by the rest of the international community.

Questioned later by journalists, foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptise Mattei indicated that Douste-Blazy’s words did not mean a change of French policy.

Refusing to use the word "genocide", Mattei said: "The minister expressed our sharp concern about the situation in Darfur."

(ST)