AFP: French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Friday condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks that Israel’s “elimination” was necessary to end the conflict in Lebanon. PARIS, Aug 4, 2006 (AFP) – French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Friday condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks that Israel’s “elimination” was necessary to end the conflict in Lebanon.
“I totally condemn these remarks which are unacceptable,” Douste-Blazy said in comments broadcast by Radio France Internationale.
“I have been the first western foreign minister to condemn the remarks of Mr Ahmadinejad,” he added.
On Thursday Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying of the violence in Lebanon that “the real cure for the conflict is elimination of the Zionist regime, but there should be first an immediate ceasefire.”
Ahmadinejad also said Israel was engaged in a “war against humanity” in its air and ground offensive against its northern neighbour, now in its fourth week, aimed at rooting out Hezbollah Shite militants in Lebanon.
Douste-Blazy reaffirmed however France’s position in favour of Iranian involvement in settling the conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah fighters, whom Iran is accused of funding and arming.
“Iran plays a clearly important role in the (Middle East) region and particularly in this Israeli-Lebanese conflict,” the French minister said.
On an earlier visit to Beirut, he had said Iran had a role to play in the “stabilisation” of the region.
The Islamic state’s hardline president has in the past said Israel should be “wiped off the map” and has several times called for the Jewish state to be moved somewhere else on the planet.