French envoy defends presence

France's Humanitarian Ambassador Francois Zimeray on Monday defended his country's decision to participate in the UN anti-racism conference. "The world deserves an arena for dialogue. We believe that dialogue is a value in itself," Zimeray told The Jerusalem Post at the conference. His country's continued participation in preparations for the final text helped eliminate new language against Israel that Islamic countries had tried to insert, he said. Zimeray added that he was not bothered by the participation of countries with bad records on human rights such as Iran, Libya and Sudan. The debate about human rights should be had with these countries, he said. "Who else should we fight and argue with on issues regarding racism, homophobia and gender equity?, he asked.