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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 03:03 GMT
'Le Soleil' condemns 'Chirac the worm'
French President Jacques Chirac has been called "a worm" by one of the UK's most popular tabloid newspapers in a withering front page attack - written entirely in French.

The Sun's editorial assault - which can only be seen on copies distributed in the French capital - is accompanied by a picture of their target superimposed on the body of an earthworm next to the headline: "Chirac est un ver."

The newspaper tells Parisians their leader has become the "shame of Europe" because of his "constant threat" to veto "any military action intended to apply the will of the UN in Iraq".

"This attitude is all the more hypocritical as everyone says President Chirac will give his support to the UN, the US and the UK in the end," the Sun proclaims.

Mr Chirac has insisted his country will - for now - oppose any second Security Council resolution on Iraq, prefering to see UN weapons inspections expanded and extended.

In Nato, France joined forces with Belgium and Germany to oppose bolstering the defences of alliance partner Turkey with US military equipment.

They said such a move would pre-empt intense diplomacy aimed at averting war, although the impasse has now been solved.

You were only too happy to welcome the Americans when France was crushed under Hitler's boot
The Sun
But The Sun, which strongly supports the need for military action against Iraq, says in its front page editorial: "The citizens of the UK believe Mr Chirac's display of arrogance on the international stage is just meant to make his country seem more important than it really is.

It goes on: "We Britons also think you French have forgotten what you owe to other nations, and in particular to the US and to the UK, who came to your aid in two world wars.

"You were only too happy to welcome the Americans when France was crushed under Hitler's boot.

"But today you look down on the American people and their president, and you forget how many American and British soldiers, sailors and pilots gave their lives, as can be seen in the military cemeteries of France, for the freedom of this country.

"Today, the Americans, supported by the other European nations braver than France, prepare to rid the world of another tyrant.

"In the name of our 10 million readers we ask you today: 'Aren't you ashamed of your president?'"



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