France 'always present' with US against terror

11th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 10 (AFP) - France has been steadfast in showing solidarity with its US ally in the battle against terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Tuesday.

PARIS, Feb 10 (AFP) - France has been steadfast in showing solidarity with its US ally in the battle against terrorism since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Tuesday.

"US security was threatened (with the suicide attacks on New York and Washington) and France was immediately present," he recalled in a lengthy interview with the International Policy quarterly.

"This solidarity has naturally continued since then in our common struggle against terrorism and it has survived despite the difficulties that surfaced between our two countries," he added.

In this connection, he pointed to the speedy French military deployment in Afghanistan and more recently to the cancellation of Air France trans-Atlantic flights "in response to genuine concern on the part of the Americans."

De Villepin also recalled that a year ago during discussions in the UN Security Council on whether to authorise war against Iraq "France, with many others, campaigned for a principle and not at all against the United States or Britain."

"There was never a word against the United States, which given the context prevailing in the media (at the time), was not without merit," he stressed.

But he made it clear that "there is no shortcut to combat terrorism" and ruled out an approach exclusively based on security.

"One must attack the scourge at the source, fight against whatever terrorism feeds on," the minister said.

Last Friday, De Villepin met US Secretary of State Colin Powell in New York on the sidelines of a UN meeting on Liberia as Washington and Paris pressed on with efforts to overcome deep rifts caused by France's opposition to the US-led war in Iraq last year.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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