Cloning a human being would be both criminal and an affront to human dignity, said French President Jacques Chirac, reacting to an unconfirmed report by a US-based cult that claims to have carried out the practice.
"A cult claims to have created a baby by cloning," Chirac's office said
in a statement released late Friday.
"Whatever the truth behind the announcement, the President of the Republic takes this opportunity to reiterate his strong condemnation of all research into human reproductive cloning and to solemnly reaffirm that for France the practice is contrary to human dignity and criminal," the statement continued.
Chirac called on all countries to rally behind a Franco-German proposal, submitted to the United Nations, for a complete ban on human cloning.
The statement followed a claim by the Raelian movement, which believes that human beings were originally created by extra-terrestrials and sees cloning as a route to immortality, that it had created the first-ever carbon-copy of a human.
The claim has yet to be confirmed by independent scientific experts.
France is opposed not only to the cloning of humans but to the related technique of creating cloned stem-cell cultures that can be used therapeutically.