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France tries to keep Near East personalities away from the Axis for Peace Conference

| Brussels (Belgium)
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Various personalities of the Near East were denied entrance in French territory through which they should have traveled to attend the Axis for Peace International Conference, organized by the Voltaire Network on November 17-18, 2005 in Brussels. Iranian participants could not get any visas “for administrative reasons”. In Lebanon and Syria, French consular agents explicitly denied several personalities their visas so that they could not participate in the conference. The decision to deprive the participants of the Axis for Peace Conference of access to France was not made by the embassies which, on the contrary, showed great politeness, but directly by the French Foreign Minister. Syrians who had already obtained their visas were later “rejected”. Arab television NewTV Sat leading journalist Maria Maalouf, who often travels to France and whose visa is normally renewed on a short-term basis, was also denied transit through France to attend the conference. Finally, Belgium authorities showed more kindness and many of those personalities managed to participate in the Axis for Peace conference.

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