Chirac certain Bush seeks 'real partnership'

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday that after back-to-back EU and NATO summits in Brussels, he is convinced that US President George W. Bush wants a true partnership with Europe.

BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday that after back-to-back EU and NATO summits in Brussels, he is convinced that US President George W. Bush wants a true partnership with Europe.

"I sensed that the United States has become aware of the reality of Europe more than it probably did before," Chirac told reporters as Bush intensified his charm offensive on the Continent.

Bush and Chirac fell out badly over the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, but the French leader maintained Tuesday that the transatlantic climate was changing for the better.

"It seems that President Bush clearly indicated that he understood that there was a real partnership, and therefore a real discussion," said Chirac, who dined with Bush on Monday.

"That's the feeling I got. The future will tell us whether I'm wrong or not."

Chirac added that everyone was aware that Bush's visit to Brussels - his first trip to Europe since his re-election last November - was his first to European Union headquarters.

Bush has met the full cast of EU leaders before - but in Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2001.

Asked by a reporter about Bush's light-hearted remark Monday that he's looking for "a good cowboy" at his ranch in Crawford, Texas - and that Chirac might fit the bill - the veteran French politician was all smiles.

"Coming from President Bush, I found that to be a rather kind appreciation," he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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