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France's human-rights-crusader-turned-foreign-minister, Bernard Kouchner, made some stark, and perhaps surprising comments to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In an interview with "Le Parisien" he said:

"You can not govern a country's foreign affairs only according to human rights. To govern a country obviously distances you from a certain saintliness." (AFP translation.)

He said that, even in France, "there is a permanent contradiction between human rights and a nation's foreign policy" and that he thought he was wrong to create a Ministry for Human Rights.

Of course, his comments do raise some interesting questions about where on the values-interests axis a country decides to pinpoint its foreign policy. Or whether human rights should be chiefly the domain of state or nonstate actors.

But it seems his motivations for making the comments might be less than altruistic and more about internal politics, as French media reported that Rama Yade, France's first junior minister for human rights, has fallen out of favor with Sarkozy.

We have an interview with Yade here from October.

-- Luke Allnutt

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