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French welcome US word on Barbie escape role

France welcomed an American government apology for the US Army's part in helping former Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie escape trial in France after World War II.

Government spokesman Max Gallo said, ''The American Justice Department statement on the Klaus Barbie affair, albeit frank, leads us to deplore the practices it reports.'' He noted that the US government had been unaware that US officers had helped Mr. Barbie escape to Latin America. France has pressed the US for years to acknowledge that it helped Barbie.

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Barbie is awaiting trial in Lyons for crimes against humanity since being brought to France from exile in Bolivia last February.

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