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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 22:37 GMT 23:37 UK
US gets Franco-German snub on Iraq
Chancellor Schroeder (l) meets President Chirac in Paris
France and Germany are wary of US plans for Iraq
France and Germany are opposed to any UN resolution that makes military action against Iraq "automatic" from the start, French President Jacques Chirac has said.

Mr Chirac was speaking after talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Paris.

"The French and German approach (to the crisis) is the same," Mr Chirac said.

The French president said he was "totally hostile" to a UN resolution providing for "automatic military intervention" in Iraq.

US diplomatic pressure

The United States is pushing for a tough new UN resolution on Iraq that would specifically mention the threat of military intervention if Baghdad fails to comply fully with UN weapons inspections.


We defined our position before the election. After the election, nothing has changed

Chancellor Schroeder

France, which has veto power in the UN Security Council, prefers a two-step approach on Iraq. It would give Iraq a chance to co-operate with weapons inspectors before the UN considered further action to ensure compliance.

Mr Schroeder, who was narrowly re-elected last month, said his position on Iraq remained unchanged.

During the German election campaign, Mr Schroeder repeatedly voiced his opposition to military action against Iraq - a position that angered the United States.

Changing alliance

There has been speculation as to the changing nature of the Franco-German axis, traditionally considered to be the EU's driving force.

The two country's administrations are now of different political orientation - centre-right in France and centre-left in Germany.

Mr Schroeder's first foreign visit after his re-election was to London, where he sought British Prime Minister Tony Blair's assistance in rebuilding his country's links with the United States.

French assistance

Karsten Voigt, Mr Schroeder's co-ordinator for German-American relations, indirectly appealed for French help in patching up ties with Washington in an interview with the daily Le Figaro.


It is high time both countries find their way back to each other

Henrik Uterwedder
German-French Institute

"Paris and Berlin should be close enough so one can speak for the other when we cross the Atlantic," he said.

In a switch in roles, Germany, which was once Washington's most obedient ally, now finds itself frozen out while America's sometimes difficult partner, France, is at the forefront of diplomatic manoeuvring over Iraq, analysts say.

"They now know who they have to deal with. It is high time both countries find their way back to each other," Henrik Uterwedder, director of the German-French Institute in Ludwigsburg, told German radio.

"The last few years were years of missed opportunities and that was not good for Europe."


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02 Oct 02 | Americas
17 Sep 02 | Europe
20 Aug 02 | Country profiles
02 Oct 02 | Politics
02 Oct 02 | Americas
01 Oct 02 | Middle East
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