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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 10:46 GMT
Chirac on final day of UK visit
President and Mrs Chirac are greeted by Prince Philip and Tony Blair
President Chirac and Tony Blair differed over Iraq
The French president is concluding his two-day visit to Britain as part of celebrations marking a century of the Entente Cordiale with Britain.

Jacques Chirac laid a wreath at King Edward VII's tomb on Friday morning in a symbolic ceremony.

Mr Chirac and his wife were entertained at Windsor Castle by the Queen on Thursday, after talks with Tony Blair.

The two leaders admitted differences over Iraq, but stressed many areas of common ground between the nations.

Following the wreath laying ceremony, prayers were said for the continuance of the "cordial bonds of understanding and affection that have brought together the peoples of France and the UK."

Middle East

Mr Blair highlighted areas of co-operation such as in Africa, at a joint news conference with the French leader on Thursday.

Mr Chirac said there were "manifold areas" where France worked hand in glove with the UK.

He said Iraq was the "one and only" issue of disagreement between the two nations, but added: "Who is right or wrong, history will tell."

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Mr Blair highlighted areas of bilateral co-operation over Iran, Afghanistan, the Balkans, over European defence, and recently in the West African state of Ivory Coast.

Mr Chirac meanwhile expressed sympathy for the death of aid worker Margaret Hassan, believed murdered in Iraq.

Let's be grown up about this. We have a difference of view but that does not mean we cannot work together
Tony Blair's spokesman

At the news conference the two leaders were asked about the situation in the Middle East following the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Mr Chirac said: "The UK and France consider there is window of opportunity that we could have a more stable order and we should do everything we can to achieve that.

"I understand that there is a consensus to try and ensure that the elections in Palestine are possible and that the Palestinian people can express their views."

Mr Blair added that he agreed there was consensus about the objectives in the Middle East - of two sovereign states of Palestine and Israel.

Entente Cordiale
The 'friendly understanding' was signed in April 1904
It was essentially an Anglo-French alliance should war break out with Germany
It marked the start of negotiations between the nations which lasted until World War One
But it also marked the end of centuries of war between the two

In a BBC interview on Wednesday, Mr Chirac suggested the situation in Iraq had helped to prompt an increase in terrorism and said he was "not at all sure" the world was safer as a result.

He also maintained that any intervention in Iraq should have been through the United Nations.

Asked about these remarks on Thursday, Mr Chirac added: "If you observe the way things are developing in the world in terms of security and the expansion of terrorism - not just in the Middle East but throughout the world - if you look at all that, you cannot say - and be credible - that the situation has significantly improved."


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Anglo-French relations have been strained over Iraq



SEE ALSO:
Britain and France: 'l'amour violent'
17 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Chirac questions US-led Iraq war
17 Nov 04 |  Middle East
Chirac sideswipe at UK-US alliance
16 Nov 04 |  Politics
Chirac: Blair gets little from US
16 Nov 04 |  Politics


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