US press avoids comments on Bush-Sarkozy meeting

13th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Aug 13, 2007 (AFP) - US newspapers on Sunday avoided editorial comment on a meeting between Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Nicolas Sarkozy of France, limiting themselves to publishing correspondent reports from Kennebunkport, Maine.

WASHINGTON, Aug 13, 2007 (AFP) - US newspapers on Sunday avoided editorial comment on a meeting between Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Nicolas Sarkozy of France, limiting themselves to publishing correspondent reports from Kennebunkport, Maine.

The New York Times printed a report by its correspondent, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who pointed out that the lunch, attended by Bush relatives, including the president's daughters, Jenna and Barbara, his brother Jeb and his sister Doro, "was much more about networking than foreign affairs."

"It was more of social importance and psychological importance than strategic importance," the report quotes Ivo Daalder, an expert in American-European relations at the Brookings Institution, as saying.

Daalder says Americans do not much care whether their president cozies up to the French, according to Stolberg's report.

"The issue isn't whether Americans want it," Daalder is quoted as saying. "The issue is Bush doesn't have the luxury of choosing his friends. There are not very many out there."

Washington Post correspondent Anne Kornblut noted that "Sarkozy may have been welcome in part because of the political parallel he represents."

"His victory in France indicated that an unpopular conservative could be succeeded by another conservative, even with a female opponent running in the campaign (sound familiar?)," Kornblut wrote. "Sarkozy's triumph over Segolene Royal heartened Republicans in the United States, who said it suggested that a Republican might be able to win in 2008 after all."

But the Post correspondent pointed out that "Sarkozy has not weighed in on the US elections -- even though he is vacationing in the first-in-the-nation primary state, a pastime often reserved for the candidates."

Los Angeles Times correspondent Bob Drogin noted that "when Bush and Sarkozy met, the body language of their back-slapping camaraderie was a far cry" from Bush's meeting last month with Gordon Brown, the new British prime minister.

"Formal and businesslike in a suit, Brown seemed determined to delineate differences between himself and the Bush administration," the Los Angeles Times correspondent pointed out. "Sarkozy showed no such chilliness Saturday despite a picnic lunch that might shock a French palate: hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, baked beans and blueberry pie."

AFP

Subject: French news

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