Monday, August 20, 2007

Enter the French

No, it isn't a few thousand troops - but this is very significant. This should mean a French buy-in to success in Iraq - and this is something that we should all be pleased to see.
Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, heard appeals from Iraqi leaders for French help as he paid a visit to Baghdad that underlines the thaw in Franco-American relations since Nicolas Sarkozy succeeded President Chirac.

Dr Kouchner, who made his name as a leftist human rights campaigner, arrived unannounced in Baghdad last night on the first trip by a French Minister since Mr Chirac mounted a global front against the 2003 invasion.

He said that he is there to listen to all of Iraq's divided communities and came with no new proposals. France remains convinced that the Iraqis must restore their nation themselves, he said.

But Dr Kouchner's presence underlines France's new openness towards the Iraq conflict since Mr Sarkozy's election in May. In 2003, Dr Kouchner was one of the few French public figures who refused to condemn the US-led invasion, though he did not condone it.
We are at the point that more international support, not just military support, is critical to Iraq keeping its footing. I hope France does more, gets more involved. They don't need a single soldier on the ground - if they just help the Iraqi government move forward - I will smile and say thanks.

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