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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 03:32 GMT 04:32 UK
France spurns reliance on force
Dominique de Villepin
De Villepin: The EU should be more than a free trade area
French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, has issued a strong warning against unilateral action and the use of force in solving international crises.

Mr de Villepin - delivering the BBC's annual Dimbleby lecture - said security could only be achieved through means that also promoted justice and stability.

He stressed that only such policies could defeat terrorism, and he questioned whether the use of force against Iraq had had the desired effects.

Mr de Villepin called on European countries to join forces with the United States and Russia to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.

European ties

Calling on Britain to pool its sovereignty with other EU members, he said there could be "no Europe" without a common defence policy.

"Ours must be a political union. Were we to confine Europe to a mere free-trade area we would be betraying the spirit of the founding fathers and failing to seize the opportunity Europe offers to each of us."

Mr de Villepin said the new EU must have its own foreign policy and foreign minister, as well as a common defence policy.

No one state is in a position to respond on its own to the challenge of security, economic growth and social development
Dominique de Villepin

"There can be no Europe without European defence and no European defence without Britain," he said.

Britain and France, he said, shared the same fierce sense of independence, national pride, a refusal to surrender and a faith in justice and freedom.

The two nations had a relationship of "irritation and fascination".

Mr de Villepin said countries could no longer act totally independently.

"No one state is in a position to respond on its own to the challenge of security, economic growth and social development," he said.

In the run-up to the Iraq war Mr de Villepin voiced France's opposition to the US-British stance on Iraq - but since then both sides have made efforts to heal the damaging rift.

The BBC's Juliet Dunlop
"Mr de Villepin became a symbol of dogged French resistance in the run-up to the Iraq war"

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