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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Sarkozy affirms alliance to Israel

In addition to pledging France's friendship to Israel and warning Russia and China, conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's first significant foreign-policy speech yesterday declared that "France was, and still is, hostile to the war" in Iraq.

PARIS — French President Nicolas Sarkozy used his first major foreign-policy speech to signal a shift from his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, casting himself as a "friend of Israel" and taking a tougher line on Russia and China.

But despite his admiration for the United States, Mr. Sarkozy said Mr. Chirac was right to oppose the war in Iraq, which he called a mistake.

"France was, and still is, hostile to the war," he said, calling for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

He also cautioned against military action being used to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, warning that an attack on the Islamic regime would be "catastrophic." WPost