Thursday, March 27, 2003

Seems French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin wants it both ways: he wants to tell the US what to do about Iraq, but in the end doesn't want to sacrifice the benefits of havign a relationship with it. Want to bet he's going to be surprised when all is said and done?


France has once again refused to support the Coalition over the war with Iraq.

French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin gave a talk at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies in his first visit to Britain since the outbreak of war.

During a question and answer session at the end of his speech he refused to answer the question: "Who do you want to win the war?"

France has been fiercely opposed to the US and British-led military action against Saddam Hussein's regime.

De Villepin said France's main priority in the reconstruction of Iraq would be for the United Nations to pass a humanitarian resolution on the oil-for-food programme.

He said the UN must be at the heart of the reconstruction of Iraq following a crisis which has "shattered" the established world order.

But he said he was also confident that France and the United States would re-establish the close ties they enjoyed before the Iraqi crisis unfolded.

Mr de Villepin and French president Jacques Chirac have clashed repeatedly with Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw over how to resolve the Iraq crisis.

At the lowest point of the diplomatic feud, Downing Street described the French threat to veto a second UN resolution in any circumstances as "poisonous".

With Jack Straw accompanying Mr Blair on his trip to the US there are thought to be no plans for another British Foreign Office minister to meet Mr de Villepin while he is in Britain.

Last Updated: 16:09 UK, Thursday March 27, 2003

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