France calls for calm in Iraqi city of Najaf

17th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 16 (AFP) - France on Monday urged US soldiers, Iraqi police and Iraqi militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr to stop fighting in the Iraqi city of Najaf and to respect the holy site.

PARIS, Aug 16 (AFP) - France on Monday urged US soldiers, Iraqi police and Iraqi militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr to stop fighting in the Iraqi city of Najaf and to respect the holy site.

"We call on all the parties there to do everything for the return of stability, which is needed for the political and economic reconstruction of the country," a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Marie Masdupuy, told journalists.

"France also stresses the importance of respecting and preserving the holy sites of Shiite Islam" and "deplores all the victims of the fighting which has been going on in the holy city of Najaf from more than a week," she said.

US forces, and Iraqi police units, have been waging a major offensive against Sadr's men, who have become a significant challenge to their authority.

France opposed the US invasion of Iraq and has no military presence in the so-called "coalition of the willing" Washington has deployed in the country.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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