France ready to help stabilise Iraq: Kouchner
BAGHDAD: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Monday reiterated his country’s readiness to help stabilise Iraq, during a flurry of talks with leaders of the country’s bitterly divided communities.
“France is ready to play a role in the fight against the violence,” Kouchner said at a press conference after talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad. Kouchner arrived in Iraq on Sunday for a three-day visit, the first by a French official to the war ravaged country since the US-led invasion of March 2003 which Paris vehemently opposed.
Describing as “unacceptable” the bitter sectarian violence which has claimed thousands of lives in the past 18 months, he added: “We want to be at the side of this large and important country at the birth of its democracy.”
While not elaborating on the role he expected France to play, he indicated this may evolve through support of UN efforts in Iraq.
“One part of the fight against violence and the restoration of peace and democracy in the country lies with the United Nations. France approves this path and we will assist in this direction,” he said. Kouchner, however cautioned he had no “miracle solution” to Iraq’s problems. His visit, shortly after President Nicolas Sarkozy made a fence-building trip to the United States, will be seen as a sign of France’s eagerness to seek a role in Iraq, and was welcomed by the White House. Talabani said Iraq was keen “to establish the best relations with France.”afp