PARIS, Feb 5 (AFP) – French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday said ahead of a meeting with his US counterpart Colin Powell that the deployment of French troops to Iraq was “currently not an issue”.
“Concerning the sending of troops, this is of course currently not an issue,” de Villepin said on French radio station Europe 1 from Mexico where he is on an official visit.
“The key thing is to get out of the political void that Iraq is going through, to move towards a return of Iraq’s sovereignty which should be effective in June,” he added.
Questioned about the debate raging over the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the motive for the US-led war in the country, de Villepin said: “The multilateral approach gives guarantees as to the information, the safety of international action.”
“One can win a war, but to win the peace is much more difficult.”The United Nations – notably France and Russia, permament members of the Security Council – did not support the US-led war on Iraq last March.
Turning to relations between France and the US, soured greatly by French opposition to military action in Iraq, the French minister said there had been a reconciliation over the last few months.
“We have multiplied the exchanges and meetings,” he commented.
“Our wish is to look to the future and to see how we can progress on each of the issues,” he added.
De Villepin is due to meet the US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday in New York on the sidelines of a UN meeting on rebuilding Liberia.
It will round up a tour that has taken him to Ivory Coast, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.
Subject: France news