Sunday, August 26, 2007

French diplomacy in Iraq?

"It's time to stop lecturing the Americans about their errors and start contributing to a solution," declares a LeMonde editorial in approval of the new interest in Iraq displayed by new French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
France’s intervention will definitely not be military. But playing on the 30-year relationship between Kouchner and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who has close ties to Kurdish and Shiite leaders, may help speed a political solution. France’s involvement in Iraq since 2003 has been limited to writing off about $5.5 billion in debt and pushing for greater UN role. British and German leaders welcome the move as much as the United States does. But the “prevailing view” in the French diplomatic corps is that negotiating is futile; “the civil war needs to run its course”. Some also fear that getting involved will ruin France’s diplomatic standing in the rest of the Arab world and open it up to more terrorist attacks. But both conservative and left newspapers agree that it’s time to stop gloating about being right and get back to playing on the international scene. Does this mean we can get back to eating "French" fries?

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