Iraqi president to visit France

5th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday that Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar had accepted an invitation to visit France, in a possible sign of rapprochement between the two countries.

BRUSSELS, Nov 5 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday that Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar had accepted an invitation to visit France, in a possible sign of rapprochement between the two countries.

Chirac, who was speaking to reporters at a European Union summit here, gave no further details immediately.

A planned visit by the Iraqi president at the start of September was cancelled, due to the abduction of two French journalists according to the French foreign ministry.

Chirac added that he had "never refused" to meet Iraqi interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, who was due to have lunch with EU leaders without the French leader, fuelling speculation about chilly links between Paris and Iraq.

The French president was due to leave the EU summit before the lunch, to fly to Abu Dhabi to pay his condolences after the death of United Arab Emirates founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.

Chirac recalled that he had met Allawi in June at a meeting of the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations in the United States.

France's relations with the US-backed interim government in Baghdad have been strained, but Paris is supporting limited EU efforts to help reconstruct the war-scarred country.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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