In a sign of either senility or insanity, or both, the French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has announced that Iran is a "respected, stabilizing influence" in the Middle East.
Iran is a significant, respected player in the Middle East which is playing a stabilizing role, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday, during a visit to Lebanon.
"It was clear that we could never accept a destabilization of Lebanon, which could lead to a destabilization of the region," Douste-Blazy said in Beirut.
"In the region there is of course a country such as Iran – a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region," he told a news conference.
Asked whether he would meet his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki later Monday, Douste-Blazy said as he left for Beirut: "It's normal that politicians who want a political agreement can meet each other."
Iran and Syria are the principal sponsors of Hezbollah, and the two countries have applauded Hezbollah's July 12 capture of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers, which triggered the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.
The French foreign minister repeated his country's call for an immediate cease-fire, saying the military situation was at an "impasse" so a political solution was needed.
"We can see clearly today, since July 12, that Israel will not reach its goals by a purely military solution," he said.
"What happened in Qana a few hours ago confirms to me the importance of the immediate end to hostilities and confirms to me also that an immediate end to hostilities is a condition for everyone to talk to each other, to negotiate and reach a political agreement," he said.
Douste-Blazy was referring to an IAF attack on a building in the south Lebanon village of Qana on Sunday, which killed 56 people, more than half of them children.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin welcomed Monday a pledge by Israel to suspend air strikes in Lebanon for 48 hours but said it was not enough.
"It is, for France, a first step, but an insufficient step given the current stakes," he told reporters.
"We must all together redouble our efforts to achieve the immediate cessation of hostilities requested by the president," de Villepin added.
But Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema called the suspension a "ray of light," that must now turn into a real cease-fire, Italian news reports said.
D'Alema made the remarks during a two-day visit to Jerusalem, where he discussed the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials.
D'Alema said the cessation in Israel's airstrikes was a "ray of light" and a "positive sign," the ANSA and Apcom news agencies said. But he urged caution.
"It's only a very first step," he was quoted as saying. "Now it's necessary to move from a humanitarian truce to a real cease-fire."
At this point, there is mounting evidence that something is very wrong about the media accepted storyline of what happened in Qana (aka Cana and Kana). Instead of jumping merrily aboard the condemnation bandwagon, it would be a smart move to investigate what really happened there. As for France, there is little hope for a cure for what ails them. They are too far out of touch with reality these days.