France cheered by Rice's remarks on EU, NATO

20th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-PETERSBURG, Jan 19 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Wednesday welcomed positive remarks by incoming US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice about the European Union, of which France is a leading member.

SAINT-PETERSBURG, Jan 19 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie on Wednesday welcomed positive remarks by incoming US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice about the European Union, of which France is a leading member.

"It's interesting to note that Ms Rice so clearly stresses the merits of collective action and that she cites the European Union and NATO. That has always been our approach," said Alliot-Marie, currently visiting Russia.

Alliot-Marie said she herself had repeatedly stressed the complementary nature of the EU-NATO nexus. "This shows we think the same way," she said.

Addressing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at her first confirmation hearing Tuesday, Rice vowed to repair damaged relations with US allies.

Rice paid tribute to a multilateral approach to global policy, citing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union with democratic nations as "our strongest partners" in battling terrorism.

American relations were damaged particularly with France during the US invasion of Iraq. France, along with Germany and Russia, rejected the intervention.

"Our interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue," Rice told the hearing.

Rice seemed intent on softening the image of an administration that took a with-us-or-against-us approach to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, alienating some traditional allies and global public opinion.

She laid out three major tasks ahead of US diplomacy: uniting democracies to build a world system "based on our shared values and the rule of law," helping democracies fend off common threats to security, and spreading freedom and democracy worldwide.

Alliot-Marie was set Friday to attend a session of the Franco-Russian security cooperation council.

She was in Saint Petersburg at the invitation of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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