Tuesday, April 21, 2009

French Foreign Minister Criticizes Obama Over Durban II Boycott

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has criticized the Obama Administration's decision to stay away from Durban II.

France is attending the conference but did walk out with other Western delegates during Ahmadinejad's speech yesterday.

Kouchner's comments are interesting.

He said, "It's paradoxical -- they don't want to listen to Iran in Geneva but they are ready to talk to them. More than a paradox, that could really be a mistake."

I like Kouchner's argument but not its reasoning.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Obama Administration to boycott a conference where the President of Iran while at the same time center its entire foreign policy around engaging him and his government. It doesn't make sense.

However, those aren't Kouchner's objections. Kouchner objects to the United States not being present at an international forum even if the international forum sanctions anti-Semitism. Kouchner and French President Sarkozy have been trying to get closer to the Arab nations who supported Durban II and thinks America should do the same. Frankly, I've always thought the French and the Arabs were too close in the first place. But Kouchner's position doesn't surprise me. Not only are the French friendly with the Arab states his government has been in direct talks with Hamas for nearly a year now. Fat lot of good its done.

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