Monday, February 07, 2005

France wants better relations

My Way News

PARIS (Reuters) - France wants a fresh start in relations with the United States and both sides have much to contribute to a renewed transatlantic partnership, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said in comments published Monday.

He made the remarks before a visit to Paris Tuesday by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice aimed in part at repairing ties damaged by the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which France opposed.

"The moment has come for a fresh start in our relations," Barnier said in an interview with the French daily Liberation which was conducted late last week.

"Alliance doesn't signify allegiance," he said, underlining the need for a mutual partnership. "A renewed transatlantic alliance must be based on two pillars (European and American)."

His remarks were the latest sign since President Bush's re-election of a desire for rapprochement between the Cold War-era allies.

Bush has invited French President Jacques Chirac to Washington and the two leaders are due to dine together in Brussels on Feb. 21 before a NATO summit.

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