Iraq 'lobbied top French politicians': US report

13th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 13 (AFP) - In a bid to improve ties with France, Iraq's intelligence service sought to influence top French politicians, including former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a US congressional committee said Friday.

WASHINGTON, May 13 (AFP) - In a bid to improve ties with France, Iraq's intelligence service sought to influence top French politicians, including former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, a US congressional committee said Friday.  

The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the US House of Representatives said it had obtained memos and letters from files of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) showing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had personally "ordered the improvement of dealing with France" in early 2002.  

In a statement, the committee said the documents "reflect a concerted effort on the part of Saddam Hussein's government to influence individuals, companies and political parties sympathetic to Iraq's interests and in a position to advance those interests.  

"In particular, Iraq identified French and Russian officials in hopes of undermining economic sanctions by creating divisions within the UN Security Council," it said.  

Among the individuals targeted were Giscard, Delors, former interior minister Charles Pasqua, former interior and defence minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement, former interior and defence minister Pierre Joxe and French members of parliament Serge Matheiu and Roselyn Bachelot, it said.  

Quoting from what it said was a May 6, 2002 memo on a meeting between an IIS agent and Bachelot, a spokeswoman for President Jacques Chirac's election campaign, the committee said Iraq's efforts "may have had an effect upon French policy with respect to Iraq."  

"She (Bachelot) assured that the French position opposed any American attack on the nation [Iraq], and France will use the right of opposition (veto) within the Security Council against any American decision regarding the attack on Iraq," it quoted the memo as saying.  

"France will work throughout the upcoming period to lift the sanctions," the memo reportedly added.  

The committee noted that at least one other French politician, former interior minister Charles Pasqua, is alleged by another US congressional panel to have received lucrative oil allocations in connection with the United Nations oil-for-food programme. Pasqua has denied any wrongdoing.  

The committee did not make any allegations in connection with the other French politicians allegedly targeted by the IIS.  

A number of Russian politicians were also targeted by the Iraqi intelligence service including Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, the committee said. Zhirinovsky has denied charges he received oil allocations from Iraq under the UN oil-for-food programme.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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