UK, France locked in 'stormy love affair'

16th November 2004, Comments 1 comment

LONDON, Nov 16 (AFP) - France and Britain are locked in a long but stormy love affair, French President Jacques Chirac said in comments reported Tuesday, days before his cross-Channel trip to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the nations' Entente Cordiale.

LONDON, Nov 16 (AFP) - France and Britain are locked in a long but stormy love affair, French President Jacques Chirac said in comments reported Tuesday, days before his cross-Channel trip to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the nations' Entente Cordiale.

Chirac, speaking to British journalists in Paris, also said the United States did not seem "in the mood" to return favours to Britain for its support in the Iraq war.

"Britain gave its support but I did not see anything in return," the French leader said, referring to Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to send British troops to take part in the US-led offensive in Iraq in March 2003.

"I'm not sure it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favours systematically," he said.

He also mocked remarks by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in which he divided Europe into "new" and "old" camps, saying such comments reflected a "lack of culture".

"Imagining there can be division between the British and French vision of Europe is as absurd as imagining that we are building Europe against the United States," he said, according to quotes reprinted in The Times.

Britain and France, which this year are celebrating the centenary of the official end of their colonial rivalry, especially in North Africa, instead share a relationship of "amour violent", he said.

Chirac has been ridiculed in Britain's francophobic and eurosceptic tabloid press, with the best-selling daily The Sun branding him a worm in February 2003 for his staunch opposition to the Iraq offensive.

The 72-year-old president said he had only quarrelled with Blair once, "and that was about agriculture... But we were both tired at the end of European Union summit. It was soon forgotten," he added, according to The Independent.

Instead, he stressed shared Franco-British interests in European defence, the Middle East peace process and a strengthened United Nations.

Chirac will visit Britain on Thursday and Friday, where he will meet with Blair and be received by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

© AFP

Subject: French News

1 Comment To This Article

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