Segolene seen to sneer at Bush's 'axis of evil'

21st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

FRANGY EN BRESSE, France, Aug 20, 2006 (AFP) - France's leading candidate for the presidency, Ségolène Royal, on Sunday described US President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" as simplistic and the invasion of Iraq as a mistake.

FRANGY EN BRESSE, France, Aug 20, 2006 (AFP) - France's leading candidate for the presidency, Ségolène Royal, on Sunday described US President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" as simplistic and the invasion of Iraq as a mistake.

"Preventive wars aggravate the problems they presume to tackle. Only George Bush could think that the world is safer since the occupation of Iraq," she told more than 2,000 members of her Socialist Party in this eastern town.

"In this world, neither simplism — such as the theory of an 'axis of evil' — nor fear are good advisors," she said.

Her speech marked an intensification of her efforts to get the party nomination in November to run in the presidential elections due in April next year.

Polls show her to be the French politician most likely to succeed President Jacques Chirac. Her nearest rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, trails her 42 to 55 percent, according to the latest survey by the IFOP institute.

Royal, the daughter of a retired army colonel, said the recent conflict in Lebanon confirmed the limits of what force can achieve.

"In this world, France doesn't have the right to play a minor role, foremost because it is a member of the Security Council, and because its geography and history put it into contact with Africa, Asia and the Middle East — from where certain threats come — but also because of solid friendships," she said.

"We are not resigned to a certain impotence of Europe, which, far from bolstering France, weakens it. Let's shoulder our share of the responsibility."

Royal added that "the main factor in destabilising the world is poverty — it's the gaps opening up, the humiliation of those who are rejected and who are pushed to violence or who allow the downtrodden to be manipulated."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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