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Switzerland to host francophone summit

Switzerland is to host the summit of French speaking countries in 2010, despite concerns that its anti-minaret ban would lead some members to object.

A ministerial meeting of the organisation of French speaking countries (OIF) approved the Swiss offer on Tuesday.

No objections were raised by any of the seven Muslim member states.

The meeting will be held in the town of Montreux on Lake Geneva from October 22 to 24. Switzerland was the only candidate to host it.

The 2010 summit was originally supposed to have been held in Madagascar, but it was dropped as a venue because of the confused political situation in the island.

The Swiss foreign minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey, has worked hard in recent weeks to allay fears, particularly in Muslim countries, about the result of the popular vote on November 29 which approved a call to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland.

The OIF has a membership of 56 states and regional governments, and another 14 countries have observer status.

The summit is held every two years. and agencies