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France to face US wrath over Iraq

"They are trying to find ways to create alternative mechanisms for dealing with the French, or rather without them, and not just at NATO, but more broadly," one senior official said.
France to face US wrath over Iraq
AFP, 23 April 2003

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Tuesday that France would face consequences for its opposition to the war in Iraq as senior aides to President George W. Bush met to consider ways to express Washington's anger.

Asked in an interview whether Paris would be punished for its anti-war stance, Powell replied bluntly: "Yes."

"We have to take a look at the relationship. We have to look at all aspects of our relationship with France in light of this," he told CBS television.

Powell's comments came as senior US officials weighed tough measures against France including sidelining Paris at NATO and limiting its participation in transatlantic forum had been considered at a high-level meeting this week.

Participants in the meeting, held on Monday at the White House after a similar gathering last week was postponed, did not arrive at any decisions but are expected to gather again, possibly next week, in an effort to reach consensus, the officials said.

The officials, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said Vice President Dick Cheney's office had been particularly vocal in pressing for some kind of punitive measures to be taken against France.

"They are trying to find ways to create alternative mechanisms for dealing with the French, or rather without them, and not just at NATO, but more broadly," one senior official said.

Dissatisfaction with France has reached such a point that apart from Powell, the State Department, which has registered opposition to the punitive suggestions under consideration, appeared to be resigned to the possible moves.

"The recent events and disagreements will have an effect on our views and our relationships," spokesperson Richard Boucher said.

"There will obviously be an effect of the recent disagreement, but I am not prepared to draw specific conclusions at this point," he told reporters.

Among the ideas discussed at Monday's meeting included bypassing the North Atlantic Council, NATO's governing body, in favour of the alliance's Defence Planning Committee from which France withdrew in 1966, the officials said.

But perhaps more significantly, participants also looked at possibly not inviting France to numerous US-sponsored or -hosted consultative policy meetings held regularly with Washington's European allies, they said.

"Traditionally there have been meetings of senior officials with the Europeans and we could dispense with them altogether, expand them to water down French influence or just cut France out altogether," a second official said.

"What's being looked at is less consultation with the French at all levels from ministerial on down," the official said.

Bush's most senior advisors Powell, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice did not attend Monday's meeting, but sent deputies instead, the officials said.

Rice's number two, Stephen Hadley, chaired the meeting with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman sitting in for Powell's deputy, Richard Armitage, the officials said.

It was not immediately clear who represented Rumsfeld, although Pentagon officials said Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was at the White House for several meetings on Monday.

Powell, Rumsfeld and Rice had been set to meet last Thursday to go over the issue of France but that meeting was postponed at the last minute after French ambassador to the United States intervened to stop it and the Pentagon asked for a delay to better prepare its arguments.

The defence department is in general agreement with Cheney's office that France should pay some price for its opposition to the war on Iraq and its refusal to back the deployment of NATO assets to help defend Turkey during the conflict, the officials said.

The State Department, however, wants to move beyond the split over Iraq and focus more on areas of future cooperation with France, including in Iraq where Boucher said there would be "opportunities" to work with allies on reconstruction.

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how twisted 23.Apr.2003 01:26


its the us who invaded, its misleaders lied to their own people, scorned international law(and broken a few) have killed thousands of iraqis on the pretext of liberating them(liberated for good now), targeted free journalists, while boasting of being a nation that cherishes freedom; destroyed the iraqi infrastructure, demonised saddam to justify all the above.
Its the us which should be made an example of. Its time people put the thumb screws on uncle sam. They can do this by not paying taxes(if us citizens), boycoting us products(if foreigners). The us govt must be made to answer its crimes, not allowed to punish others because they oposed them.

Spiteful 23.Apr.2003 07:22


This is a really spiteful administration.

We really have to vote these people out.

The glory of democracy 23.Apr.2003 08:33


It just goes to show how much your leaders value democracy; disagree and you get the whip.

Gertha reply 23.Apr.2003 15:40


King of all trolls listen up.

Not everyone who disagrees with you is a communist.

But there isn't much to disagree with; you say nothing. The outburst is a series of farts, of no consequence.

Please articulate a coherent vision of a world that people (and other animals) can actually live in. Not a hateful rant against pieces of others' ideas-- something original, your own.

Thank you in advance