Skip to comments.Leading French Humanitarian (pro-American Bernard Kouchner) is Likely Foreign Minister
Posted on 05/14/2007 3:49:28 PM PDT by Cincinna
PARIS, May 14, 2007 (AFP) - Bernard Kouchner, a world-renowned humanitarian who founded the Doctors without 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 doctor and opposition Socialist Party politician 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 (MDM) -- in 1980.
He was in successive Socialist 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 favoured the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and strongly criticised French policy which he said left the US and Britain with little choice but to go to war without UN backing.
In March 2003 Chirac said France would veto a UN security council resolution authorising military action against Saddam Hussein -- a position which was used by Washington and London as justification for going it alone.
"If we had been at their side we could have avoided the war. I regret the failure of diplomacy, including our own. We should have gone along with (the Americans). That was all they asked for," he said shortly after the invasion.
In a January 2004 interview Kouchner lamented that the French had become "America-haters."
"We have turned (George W.) Bush into the big enemy as if that alone was a policy.... The French are America-haters, and they are also back being racists and anti-Semites. The French are sick in the head," he said.
Regularly cited in polls as France's most popular politician, Kouchner has kept his distance from the Socialist Party hierarchy -- though he publicly supported Royal during the presidential campaign.
After her defeat he said that the left needed to "change its software" and "develop a common project ... with the centre."
Sarkozy has approached other Socialist politicians about possible ministerial posts, including former ministers Claude Allegre and Hubert Vedrine, in a bid to extend the political base of his government.
"What Kouchner can bring is that most precious political commodity ... a fragment of idealism," France's top political commentator Alain Duhamel wrote in a 2005 profile of the politician.
Kouchner was born in 1939 in the southern town of Avignon to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother. He trained as a gastro-enterologist in Paris, where he took part in the student protests of May 1968. His second wife is the television presenter Christine Ockrent.
Sarko is again proving that the judgement of him as "the most gifted and brilliant politician of his generation" is true.
Bernard Kouchner is one of the most popular public figures in France for the last 20 years. Fragmenting the PS is a noble and achievable goal.
Sounds good to me.
BTW, Kouchner’s wife was part of an interesting ad campaign.
It sounded bad when I heard “Sarko asks a socialist to be FM.” However, this guy, like Christopher Hitchens, sounds like a member of the sane left.
At the very least he doesn’t seem to be a socialist robot, for myself I think the Kosovo situation has been mishandled badly.
Excellent news! The radical, leftist pinkos must be going totally bonkers :)
Sad to say, it’s probably too late to save France from being overwhelmed by foreigners and its socialist economy.
Hes still over 30 and a still a socialist.
Kouchner’s Doctors Without Borders EXPELLED Greece for sending ambulances to help the Serbs during the Clinton-NATO-Wesley Clark bombing campaign against the Serbs.
Kouchner is no friend of the Serbs, as his longtime work as an administrator in Kosovo shows.
He worked hand in glove with Kosovo muslim advocate Richard Holbrooke to enable the Albanian muslims there at the expense of the Serbs.
What about the socialist Verdrine?
I wonder if France will now start kicking the legs out from under iran?
Verdine was at least an hour ago. And was apparently hit by a bus.
Interesting. An article posted here earlier a day or two ago said that Kouchner was anti-American. But it was short on details, unlike this article.
Doctors Without Borders does seem on the whole to be a lot more admirable than most of those internation do-good organizations. No doubt they have some losers, but that’s inevitable in any large organization.
Sorry, I take that back. I was thinking of Verdrine, whom people mentioned while I was ruminating that reply.
If MSF is frog for Doctors without borders and Kouchner repudiated them, then he is one of the good guys. Go President Sarkosy.
Kouchner sounds like a good guy, but Sarko should be very hesitant to appoint someone to any major position who supported Royal in this campaign, as Kouchner did. Though I think it would be worse in a domestic-policy position, in which one has to deal with these horrible unions, not to mention the terrorists and immigrant “thugs.”
What gives? A different thread earlier claimed a nasty anti-Israel guy would be named FM!
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