Expatica countries
Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home News French News Chirac congratulates Bush on Iraq election
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size

31/01/2005Chirac congratulates Bush on Iraq election

PARIS, Jan 31 (AFP) - The Iraqi elections showed "the strategy of terrorist groups partly failed," French President Jacques Chirac told his US counterpart George W. Bush by telephone Monday, officials in Paris said.  

The Sunday poll was "an important stage in the political reconstruction" of Iraq, Chirac told Bush in the 15-minute conversation, according to presidential spokesman Jerome Bonnafont.  

The French leader said the turnout and technical organisation of the elections was "satisfactory," he added.  

Between 60 and 75 percent of registered voters were estimated to have cast ballots. The result of the elections would not be known for several days.  

Chirac reiterated that France was ready to "cooperate with Iraq, especially by training security forces and senior civil servants." Paris has refused US pressure to carry out such training in Iraq itself, however.  

After the elections, the focus in Iraq should be "including all groups that have renounced armed struggle" and drafting a constitution, Chirac said.  

Bonnafont said that Chirac also took the opportunity to say to Bush that he was looking forward to seeing him over dinner when the US president visits Brussels February 21.  

Paris and Washington have been making efforts of late to smooth over the dispute caused by the US-led invasion of Iraq. Relations are now cordial if tepid.  

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told the Europe 1 radio station Monday that he and the rest of Chirac's government "don't regret anything" over the way they acted in relation to the war.  

"We said what we believed and we are looking straight ahead," he said.   He added that the Iraqi elections "were a victory for the Iraqi people and a first important step, which is indispensable for democracy and for the political process that we want to see and towards which we - I'm speaking of the international community - have been working for months."  

But he also stressed that they now laid the ground for US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq.  

"Frankly, the Americans want to exit this tragedy, this situation where their soldiers are dying," Barnier said.  

The French media conceded that Bush had reason to feel triumphant over the elections.  

The conservative Le Figaro daily said the US president was "the big winner" simply because the polls were carried out at all, despite the violence gripping Iraq.  

It asked itself whether the polls would allow "the Americans to discover the beginning of an exit strategy?"  

"Ignorant of the world and blinded by their power, the Americans often only arrive at the right solution after having exhausted all the alternatives," Le Figaro said, paraphrasing Winston Churchill.  

Liberation, a left-leaning newspaper, also hailed Sunday's polls, saying the strong turnout revealed the insurgents as "a violent minority whose power to persuade or intimidate is exerted only on part of the Sunni minority."  

It said the task of the new Iraqi leaders should be to organise the rapid withdrawal of the foreign forces in their country because "more and more, they are part of the problem rather than the solution."


Subject: French News

0 reactions to this article

0 reactions to this article

Inside Expatica
Management culture in France

Management culture in France

This handy guide from Expertise in Labour Mobility includes information on business hierarchy, negotiations, and etiquette.

American associations and clubs in Paris

American associations and clubs in Paris

A listing of organizations in the Paris area that cater primarily to Americans living in France. Updated April 2011.

British associations and clubs in Paris

British associations and clubs in Paris

Our handy guide to the British community in Paris, from cricket clubs to Scottish country dancing lessons to where to find a jar of Marmite.

Anglophone services in France

Anglophone services in France

Here's a short introduction to our Banking section for those living in France, from how to open a bank account to Islamic banking and investments.