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Friday, 8 February, 2002, 13:09 GMT
France steps up US criticism
Lionel Jospin
The speech is unlikely to be well received by Washington
By the BBC's James Coomerasamy

The French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has called on Washington not to resort to unilateralism, underlining a growing diplomatic rift between Europe and the United States.


One cannot reduce the problems of the world to the single dimension of the fight against terrorism - however vital that might be

Lionel Jospin
French Prime Minister
Mr Jospin's comments reinforce similar ones made earlier in the week by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who criticised what he called America's simplistic foreign policy.

In a speech at a money laundering conference in Paris, Lionel Jospin said the US should not give in to the strong temptation of unilateralism but should re-engage with the international community.

He said the world's problems could not be reduced to the single dimension of the fight against terrorism, however vital that was, and that military might alone would not solve them.

US defence

In common with many other European countries France has been concerned by President Bush's reference to a new "axis of evil" during his recent State of the Union address.

Hubert Vedrine
Vedrine described US foreign policy as 'simplistic'
The Bush administration is certain to be angered by Mr Jospin's speech.

On Thursday a State Department spokesman dismissed the French foreign minister's earlier comments.

"President Bush spends an enormous amount of his time in direct consultations with our European allies, both by phone and in person," insisted Philip Reeker.

"The view that the US is not consulting with its European allies and partners could not be further from the truth."

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Americas
Powell steps up Iraq war talk
31 Jan 02 | Middle East
France pushes for Mid-East peace
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