UK, French and German FMs in dinner date

21st January 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Jan 21 (AFP) - Britain confirmed Wednesday a three-way dinner between the British, French and German foreign ministers two days earlier, at which they discussed Iraq, Iran and other issues.

LONDON, Jan 21 (AFP) - Britain confirmed Wednesday a three-way dinner between the British, French and German foreign ministers two days earlier, at which they discussed Iraq, Iran and other issues.

A Foreign Office spokesman told AFP that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw hosted the dinner at his country residence for French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Germany's Joschka Fischer.

"They had an informal private dinner at Chevening on Monday night, and they discussed Iraq, Iran and other foreign policy issues," the spokesman said.

"We've always worked closely with France and Germany," he added.

"We've had this sort of private meetings from time to time, as we do with other member states (of the European Union), and as France and Germany do with other member states," he added.

"Meetings of small groups of like-minded member states are not unusual."

The Financial Times newspaper, which broke the news of the dinner in its British edition on Wednesday, said the dinner indicated Britain's desire to boost its trilateral relationship with France and Germany.

The three nations are the largest in the European Union, and they have been trying to rebuild their ties after last year's falling out over the US-led Iraq war, which Britain supported and France and Germany opposed.

Quoting a senior British official, it said British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his foreign secretary want London to hold trilateral policy meetings with their Paris and Berlin counterparts about every six weeks.

Blair and Straw are thought to believe that when the European Union expands from 15 to 25 member states in May, business will be best done in small groups of nations, the newspaper said..

"You cannot really discuss policy among 25," the unidentified official was quoted as saying. "You can vote on it, but not really have real, free discussion."

Asked if he could confirm that British, French and German foreign ministers would be meeting every six weeks, the Foreign Office spokesman told AFP: "I'm not aware of a timetable."

Chevening is 30 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of London.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

0 Comments To This Article