French minister receives death threats over Congo summit
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
French President, Francois Hollande gives the opening speech of the 20th annual ambassador's conference on August 27, 2012 at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris. AFP photoA French government minister said Tuesday she has received death threats linked to an upcoming summit of French-speaking countries in the Democratic Republic of Congo that France has been urged to boycott.
France is under pressure from opponents of Congo President Joseph Kabila to snub the October summit in Kinshasa on the grounds that it will give legitimacy to his regime, accused by critics of election rigging and human rights abuses.
President Francois Hollande announced Monday that he had decided to attend the October 12-14 meeting along with Yamina Benguigui, the minister responsible for relations with the French-speaking world.
"We have a duty to go, even if we are perhaps going to be attacked for it," Benguigui told Radio France Internationale (RFI).
"Myself I've had death threats, by email, but I think it is important that this summit takes place." An aide to the minister said Benguigui had been sent death threats via her Facebook account, as well as by email. "The opponents of the summit in Congo are ferocious," he added.
Announcing his decision to attend the summit, Hollande said he would not pull any punches in his contacts with leaders of the Congo regime.
"I will meet with the opposition, with NGOs and representatives of civil society," he said. "That is the sense of France's new Africa policy: to say everything, everywhere and to ensure that what is said, is done."