Vientiane- Laos (PANA) -- The minister of Cooperation, Development and Francophonie, Jean-Marie Bockel has expressed the desire for Algeria to seek membership into the International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF).
"It is important that Algeria join us," Bockel told a press briefing Tuesday shortly before the opening of the 23rd Ministerial conference of La Francophonie (CMF) in Vientiane, Laos on the topic: "French, a tool for solidarity and the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity".
"We cannot tell countries that are willing to join us to listen and come back in 20 years after we have strengthened the organisation," noted the French Minister of cooperation.
Stressing how countries of other linguistic regions wish to be a member of the OIF, Bockel called on the Francophone states "to meet the challenge of opening the doors of the organisation to new members", and open the debate on "new memberships" including that of Israel".
"The issue of French in the world requires considerable efforts that our Commonwealth (community of English-speaking countries) counterparts do not need to make.
By referring to the common values that we share as far as French is concerned, we cannot prevent those states that will knock at the OIF door from coming in," the head of the French delegation in Vientiane insisted.
For him, opening the Francophonie to new members aims simply at reconciling the concepts of "opening to new members and renewal".
"Some of our friends like the Canadians and those of Quebec consider that it is time we stopped accepting new memberships and define more strict criteria.
This is not the position of France.
We are rather in favour of opening the organisation to countries like Angola, Algeria and others to continue," emphasised Brockel.
The issue of new memberships could spark off heated debates during the discussions that will be held behind closed doors during this 23rd ministerial conference.
A group of nations under the leadership of France wish to continue the opening of OIF to new member states through flexible membership criteria.
But another group under the leadership of Quebec wants the regular and institutional use of French to be a condition for membership.
Meanwhile, the topic of the next summit planned for October 2008 in Canada seems to give rise to profound differences between French and Canadians since the idea of choosing an environment-related topic, as main theme for that conference does not suit everybody.
Ottawa that recently left the Kyoto Protocol is not in favour of that.