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Breakfast with Frost
Dominique de Villepin
Dominique de Villepin, French foreign minister
On Sunday 2nd March Sir David talked to the French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin, and European Commissioner Chris Patten.

He also interviewed the new chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality Trevor Phillips and backbench Labour MP Ann Clwyd.

The Sunday newspapers were reviewed by Sir Tim Rice and the Guardian journalist, Jackie Ashley.

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On today's programme, the French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin discussed the international crisis over Iraq with Sir David Frost - making it clear that France will continue to oppose the attempt by Britain and the United States to get approval for military action from the United Nations. M de Villepin implied that France might wield its veto, to block a second resolution altogether.

"When we wrote together the Security Council resolution 1441, what did we say? We said we should work through the inspections until the point when we found ourselves in a deadlock," he told Sir David. It is for the inspectors to write a report saying `We can't work any more. Are we in such a situation? No. Do we need a second resolution? No. Are we going to oppose a second resolution? Yes, as are the Russians and many other countries."

Paris was not prepared to see the Security Council become a "rubber-stamp" for American demands or to see the process of dealing with Iraq's weapons driven by a military timetable, he said. But he made clear that France would be prepared to join in military action as a "last resort".

"We are not a pacifist country," he insisted. "We are ready to take full responsibility and if the use of force is absolutely needed, then of course we might take these decisions."

But he added: "Peace is a very important thing. It is a very strong benefit for mankind. We should only accept the use of force when we have tried everything. Have we tried everything? France says no."

Click on the highlighted links to read the full transcripts.

Sir David also interviewed the European Commissioner - and former Conservative Cabinet Minister - Chris Patten, about the current state of the Tory Party. Mr Patten said the party had drifted too far to the right and become a "mess". He called for a shake-up in the party's top ranks to bring forward more "attractive" figures, and named his former Cabinet colleague Kenneth Clarke as one of those who should take a more prominent role.

Mr Patten told Sir David: "People have got to work together and try to find a voice - they haven't done so far - which attracts the electorate. I fear that there are some in the Conservative Party who have become more interested in who is up and who is down in the Conservative Party, rather than whether the Conservative Party is ready and able to govern the country. I think it is much more important to consider that issue than this endless tribal warfare within the party."

Asked if he had met the next Tory Prime Minister, Mr Patten laughed and said he hoped he had. He added: "There are some very attractive Tory frontbench spokesmen and I hope that they are in a more prominent position in the next few months."

Mr Patten added: "Kenneth Clarke is a very attractive figure. He has the great advantage in politics of being popular with people who are not just hard-line members of his own party. The trouble is that as the Conservative Party base narrows, as fewer people identify themselves as Conservatives, it has tended to move to the right, so it has been more difficult for a moderate to get elected."

The programme also included an interview with the Trevor Phillips, the new chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality;

and with the backbench Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who talked about her support for the Kurds and for "regime change" to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.


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