France, Egypt demand Iraq conferenceplans US pull out

13th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 13 (AFP) - France and Egypt want an international conference on Iraq next month to examine the continued deployment of US-led troops there as part of a wide-ranging agenda, a spokesman for President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday.

PARIS, Oct 13 (AFP) - France and Egypt want an international conference on Iraq next month to examine the continued deployment of US-led troops there as part of a wide-ranging agenda, a spokesman for President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday.  

Chirac and visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed that "all the questions to do with the future of Iraq" should be discussed at the conference to be held November 25 in Cairo, spokesman Jerome Bonnafont said after a meeting between the two leaders in Paris.  

Those questions would include "the implementation of Resolution 1546," he said.  

Bonnafont was referring to a UN Security Council text adopted in June which covered the transfer of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi administration and which stipulated that the mandate for the US-led forces in Iraq would be re-examined by the administration or by the council in June 2005.  

Asked specifically about the troop issue, Bonnafont confirmed to AFP that France wanted that to be one of the agenda points "among others".  

But Mubarak, speaking to reporters after seeing Chirac, said "the conference agenda is still being discussed".  

"We are going to work that out with the countries in the region, but we haven't spoken of details," he said.  

The government of US President George W. Bush adopted the French idea of an international conference on Iraq after criticism that Washington shunned other countries before, during and after its April 2003 invasion to destroy alleged weapons of mass destruction acquired by Saddam Hussein.  

No such weapons have been found, and Bush's policies on Iraq - and the loss there of more than 1,000 US soldiers - have handicapped him as he campaigns for re-election in November 2 polls.  

The Cairo gathering is to be attended by officials from Iraq and its neighbouring countries as well as the G8 group of industrialised nations, the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.  

France, which is a veto-wielding UN Security Council member and part of the G8, has said the conference should also include members of the Iraqi insurgency and should discuss the departure of US troops.  

Bonnafont said Chirac had confirmed to Mubarak "that France is ready to participate in the international conference in Egypt in November."  

Mubarak said regarding general Middle East policies coloured by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that France and Egypt were "totally in agreement" and were working together to find a way to bring peace to the region.  

He added that Egypt was prepared to send 150 policemen to the Gaza Strip to help organise a Palestinian security force there following the scheduled withdrawal next year of Israeli troops.  

Chirac, for his part, said he planned to go to Egypt early in 2005 to open a French university in Cairo.  

Chirac and Mubarak met over a working lunch in Chirac's official palace.  

The day before, Mubarak was in Rome, where he declared that the hunt was continuing in his country for those behind last week's suicide bombings in Sinai tourist resorts frequented by Israelis.  

The attacks, which killed at least 32 people and wounded more than 120, were the worst on Egyptian soil since a massacre in the Nile resort of Luxor in 1997 that left 58 foreign tourists dead.  

A group linked to Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility, but Egyptian authorities say it is too soon to determine who exactly planned the atrocity.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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