Iraqi president to visit France

27th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 27 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac announced Friday that he would hold talks in Paris early next month with his Iraqi counterpart Ghazi al-Yawar, who is due to tour several European capitals in the coming weeks.

PARIS, Aug 27 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac announced Friday that he would hold talks in Paris early next month with his Iraqi counterpart Ghazi al-Yawar, who is due to tour several European capitals in the coming weeks.

In a major foreign speech to France's ambassadors and other top diplomats, Chirac - who opposed last year's US-led invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein - reiterated his willingness to help rebuild the war-ravaged country.

"With a view to elections scheduled for early 2005, France is open to discussions with the Iraqi authorities on all subjects: the training of security forces, debt and any other subjects related to reconstruction and the well-being of the Iraqi people.

"It's in this context that I will receive the Iraqi president in early September," Chirac said.

A team of NATO experts began training Iraqi security forces this month, but the alliance sidestepped a dispute between France and the United States about who should command the training mission.

France agrees with the training role but opposes flying the NATO flag in Iraq. A final decision will be taken after the advance party reports back in September.

Yawar said in an interview with the Spanish daily El Pais earlier this month that he would tour Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

He is due to visit Germany from September 9-12. Chirac did not give a date for the Iraqi president's visit to France.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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