Paris Condemns Perth Consulate Firebombing
Jun. 18, 1995
PARIS (AP) _ France implored Australia on Saturday to use all means to find and punish whoever torched a French consulate in an apparent response to French plans to restart nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
The consulate in Perth, Australia, was firebombed before dawn Saturday, leaving only its shell. A group calling itself the Pacific Popular Front telephoned news organizations and claimed responsibility.
The French Foreign Ministry said it ``took note'' of remarks by Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, who condemned the attack. It asked that ``all means be used to identify and sanction the authors.''
French President Jacques Chirac, in Canada for the meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, condemned the firebombing. He reiterated that his decision to resume nuclear testing was ``entirely irrevocable.''
About 400 people protested the resumed testing Sunday outside the French Embassy in the Australian capital, Canberra. Three people were arrested during the rowdy demonstration.
South Pacific nations, concerned about possible environmental effects, have criticized the decision to break the testing moratorium introduced in 1992 by Chirac's predecessor, President Francois Mitterrand.
Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans will lead a delegation of Pacific leaders to Paris on Monday to protest the test resumption.
Chirac says the tests on the atolls of Mururoa and Fangataufa will be limited to eight.