President Jacques Chirac said Monday that unrest in the poor suburbs of France is the sign of a "profound malaise" that the entire nation must heal, with firmness and measures to combat the poison of discrimination.
In his first address to the nation since unrest erupted Oct. 27, the president said the laws of France must be obeyed and that values kindled in youths living in the poor, highly immigrant suburbs ringing French cities.
Chirac said he has decided to set up a corps of volunteers to offer training for 50,000 youths by 2007. He also said the French media, which are not very ethnically diverse, must "better reflect the reality of France today."
He told companies and unions they must encourage diversity and support employment for youths from tough neighborhoods.
Chirac again pointed a finger at parents, whom officials have blamed for failing to stop teenage youths from the destructive rampages that have hopscotched around France.
While condemning the violence, Chirac also reached out to disgruntled suburban youths.
"I want to say to the children of difficult neighborhoods, whatever their origins, that they are all the daughters and sons of the Republic," he said.