Chirac, Bush speak ahead of NATO summit

28th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 28, 2006 (AFP) - The French and US presidents discussed NATO engagement in Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East during a telephone conversation Monday, ahead of a key NATO summit in Riga, the French and US presidencies said.

PARIS, Nov 28, 2006 (AFP) - The French and US presidents discussed NATO engagement in Afghanistan and the situation in the Middle East during a telephone conversation Monday, ahead of a key NATO summit in Riga, the French and US presidencies said.

"The discussion permitted an exchange of views on questions that will be addressed during the NATO summit in Riga, and particularly our joint engagement in Afghanistan," French presidential spokesman Jérome Bonnafont said of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and his counterpart, George W. Bush.

In particular, the discussions touched on Chirac's proposal to create a contact group on Afghanistan, gathering the main troop contributors, surrounding countries and top international organizations.

The two leaders also "brought up the situation in the Middle East and notably the Israeli-Palestinian situation and international action toward Lebanon," Bonnafont said.

Gordon Johndroe, the spokesman of the US National Security Council, who arrived in Tallinn before Bush, said: "The leaders agreed on the need for the international community to support the (Fuad) Siniora Government, including with financial assistance. They discussed the upcoming donor conference that France will host on Lebanon."

The US and France have cooperated closely to support Siniora's embattled pro-Western government and bring an end to Syrian interference in Lebanese affairs.

Bush is expected to urge European allies for more support in Afghanistan, during the Tuesday-Wednesday NATO summit in Latvia's capital.

The US president left Washington Monday for an international tour that first takes him to Estonia, Latvia and finally to Jordan, where he meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

France and the US clashed over the US-led war in Iraq three years ago, but transatlantic ties have since been on the mend.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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