Chirac, Blair to hold summit in London

17th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 17 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac will hold summit talks in London next Monday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, British officials said Monday.

LONDON, Nov 17 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac will hold summit talks in London next Monday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, British officials said Monday.

Chirac will be accompanied by his Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a spokesman for Blair told journalists.

The summit will come on the heels of this week's state visit to London by US President George W. Bush, and precede a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels next month.

A Foreign Office source said Blair and Chirac "will talk about international issues, as well as defense and home affairs".

Blair and Chirac held their last bilateral summit in February at Le Touquet, a well-heeled resort town on the French side of the English Channel, as the US-led war on Iraq loomed.

Blair was US President George W. Bush's staunchest ally on Iraq, while Chirac favored more UN inspections of Saddam Hussein's ability to make and use weapons of mass destruction.

Britain and France were also at odds last February over illegal immigration, with London blaming Paris for not doing enough to curb an influx of would-be asylum seekers.

The migrant tide has ebbed since France shut down the Sangatte reception centre at the French end of the cross-Channel rail tunnel.

"Regarding the immigration issue, cooperation has seen an enormous change and has been very successful," the Foreign Office source said.

Home Secretary David Blunkett is to meet his French counterpart, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, on November 23 - in Normandy in the morning, then London in the evening.

Besides bilateral summits, Blair and Chirac see each other regularly at quarterly European Union summits and other international gatherings.

© AFP


Subject: French news

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