US and France plan Chirac visit

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (AFP) - The US and French governments are making plans for a visit to Washington by French President Jacques Chirac - a leading opponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (AFP) - The US and French governments are making plans for a visit to Washington by French President Jacques Chirac - a leading opponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Though tensions have not fully subsided, White House spokesman said "We are working with the French government on a time for President Chirac to come to Washington and meet with the president."

The French presidency said in December that Chirac hoped for a meeting with President George W. Bush as soon as possible.

The White House spokesman said Bush had made it clear after his re-election in November "that he was going to be doing more to reach out to our Europeans friends and allies so we can work together to solve the common problems that we face.

McClellan said Chirac and Bush would also meet in Brussels when the US leader goes to the NATO headquarters and European Union on February 22. Bush will meet several European leaders during the visit.

President Chirac said Thursday he hoped 2005 would be a year of "trust" with his re-elected US counterpart, George W. Bush, as the two men - who have had chilled ties since the US-led war on Iraq - looked ahead to several years of sharing the world stage.

"A few days from his second term inauguration, I want to extend my friendly wishes to the president of the United States, whom I will soon have the occasion to see again," Chirac told foreign ambassadors in Paris at an annual New Year's function.

"I hope that together, with the international community, we will go into this new year with unity, with trust and determination, and that the challenges facing us will be opportunities to show the vitality of transatlantic ties," he said.

The US president's second mandate is to be marked January 20 by a lavish swearing-in party in Washington.

© AFP (combined reports)

Subject: French News

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