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France deports more Roma after meeting Romanian minister

media A Roma family arrives back home together with about 300 other Roma on planes departing from Paris and Lyon, in the latest wave of what French President Nicolas Sarkozy's government calls a voluntary repatriation scheme, in Bucharest August 26, 2010. Reuters/ Radu Sigheti

The French government deported close to 300 Roma people to Romania on Thursday, as a Romanian minister warns of racism and xenophobia.

Two planes carrying 283 Roma people, who are more commonly known as gypsies, left France and landed in Romania on Thursday, following Roma deportations last week.

Romanian Secretary of State in charge of the Roma Valentin Mocanu and Public Security Minister Dan Valentin Fatuloiu were in Paris for a meeting with Immigration Minister Eric Besson and Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux on Wednesday evening.

Mocanu warned French authorities against actions leading to racism and xenophobia.

“Many people are worried in Romania that one can solve a problem with actions that could encourage racism and xenophobia,” he said.

The deportations come after Sarkozy, citing concerns about crime, began a high-profile crackdown this month on travelling people that saw police rounding up foreign Roma and dismantling illegal campsites.

Besson has announced an “acceleration" of expulsions of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

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