Segolene Royal plans 'useful' trip to US

11th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 10, 2006 (AFP) - French Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal plans to make a trip to the United States early next year during which she will expound on her criticisms of globalisation, one of her top advisors said Sunday.

PARIS, Dec 10, 2006 (AFP) - French Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal plans to make a trip to the United States early next year during which she will expound on her criticisms of globalisation, one of her top advisors said Sunday.

The trip will take place "at the end of January or the beginning of February," the advisor, former minister Jack Lang, told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Royal, he said, "wants this trip to be useful for the French and wants concrete benefits to emerge that might take the form of acts or reflection... on globalisation, economic trade, health."

The US visit, which aims to bolster Royal's stature on the world stage ahead of France's April-May 2007 presidential elections, had originally been planned for December 13-14 but was postponed.

Royal has frequently criticised US policies, in contrast with her likely chief rival from the ruling right, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been firmly pro-US in his stance and who met President George W. Bush in Washington in September.

At the beginning of December, Royal sparked a furore during a visit to Lebanon by telling a Hezbollah member of parliament that she agreed with his view that US foreign policy smacked of "insanity".

She later amended her comments to say they referred only to the US-led war and occupation of Iraq, and that she drew a distinction between Bush's policies and "the wider policies of the United States."

Last month, when she officially launched her presidential campaign after easily winning her party's nomination, Royal also criticised the US conception of market-driven globalisation.

She said France must "resist the bad wind of unchecked liberalisation and at the same time seize the opportunities of a globalisation, which carries with it the worst and the best." Worker protection, she said, should be "reinforced".

One of the policy areas she does agree with the United States, however, is Iran and the efforts being made to block its nuclear ambitions.

In a television interview Friday, Royal reaffirmed that she believed Iran should be denied a civilian nuclear programme because it refused to accept international controls.

But French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said her comments "lacked credibility" because they failed to take into account the 1968 nuclear non-proliferation treaty that allowed signatory states to use nuclear technology for peaceful ends.

A former conservative French president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, also said "no-one can challenge" that article of the treaty.

Most other French politicians have limited their criticism of Iran's nuclear programme to saying Tehran must not be allowed to develop an atomic arsenal — something it insists it is not doing.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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