Sarkozy to support Bush over Iran, Afghanistan

Hoping to turn the page on four years of frosty relations over the 2003 invasion of Iraq, French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to stand by Washington on some issues.

Sarkozy to support Bush over Iran, Afghanistan
"We may have differences, we may disagree on things, we may even have arguments, as in many families," Sarkozy told the US Congress in a rare address to the two chambers by a foreign dignitary.

"But in times of difficulty, in times of hardship, one stands true to one's friends, one stands shoulder to shoulder with them, one supports them, and one helps them."

After four years of frosty ties under his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy pledged Washington could be assured of French backing on such issues as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"France would remain engaged in Afghanistan for as long as it takes, because what is at stake in that country is the very future of "our values", and that of the Atlantic alliance."

And he backed the tough US line on Iran's nuclear program, saying to applause that "the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to France."

But in a rare note of criticism he urged the Americans to do more to shore up the dollar and called upon them to take the lead in the fight against global warming.

Bush, who welcomed Sarkozy in French to a black-tie White House dinner late Tuesday, was also gushing in his praise of the new French leader at a post-summit press conference Wednesday in Virginia.

"Your leadership for your country is very impressive," Bush said. "You send a clear message. It is clear that you're a man who does what he says he is going to do. That is the kind of fellow I like to deal with."

Sarkozy said France was also worried about the political crisis in Pakistan, which is currently under a state of emergency. "We need to have elections as swiftly as possible," he said.

And turning to Iraq, Sarkozy steered clear of any criticism of the US-led occupation saying France wanted only to see "a united Iraq. It is in no one's interest to see Iraq dismantled. We want a democratic Iraq."

Asked in an interview with French television TF1 if Sarkozy's arrival in office post-Chirac had helped warm relations, Bush said: "In the sense that every individual matters ... each person brings their own set of personalities and values.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Kasım 2007, 12:50
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