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Ségolène Royal denounces ‘needless controversy’

media French minister for environment Segolene Royal said the controversy over her comments was uncalled for. Charles Platiau/REUTERS

French minister for environment Ségolène Royal said on Sunday that the controversy over her comments on the Cuban regime was uncalled for and instead called for respect on the day of the funeral of Fidel Castro.

Royal was representing the French government at the funeral of the late communist leader which took place in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

On Saturday, the former socialist presidential candidate called Castro a “monument of history” while rejecting accusations of human rights violations against him.

Her comments had attracted criticism in France.

She said that we must deviate from any systematic condemnation and that it was up to historians to take stock of this history. “I did not come here to take stock of the Fidel Castro period, but no one can deny that there is a negative and a positive,” she said.

Asked about the human rights violations in Cuba which have been criticised by the UN and the opposition to the Cuban regime, Royal said this problem must indeed be solved.

“Besides, this problem will be posed in the framework of the agreement between the European Union and Cuba,” she added.

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