Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Condi Rice in Paris : voluntarist and peaceful with France

The United States and France declared they had opened a
"new chapter" in their relations, drawing a line on two
years of feuding over Iraq with pledges to cooperate in
bringing stability to the Middle East.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in France for
her fence-mending tour of eight European nations made a
forceful appeal for improved transatlantic relations and
met with French President Jacques Chirac, who said he
wanted "constructive dialogue" with Washington.

"It is time to turn away from the disagreements of the
past. It is time to open a new chapter in our
relationship, and a new chapter in our alliance," she
said in a speech to a prestigious political sciences
institute in the capital before seeing Chirac.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said he fully agreed
that the time had come for Europe and the United States
to "start a new phase, a new chapter".

The issues central to Rice's visit focused on the US and
EU approach to the Middle East, with particular
attention given to Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.

Her Paris visit was the seventh stop of an eight-day
tour that had taken her to London, Berlin, Warsaw,
Ankara, Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Rome. On
Wednesday she was scheduled to go to Brussels and
Luxembourg before heading back to Washington.

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