|The French Must Not Mistake Friend for Foe|
The French Must Not Mistake Friend for Foe
Reply by Dominique de Villepin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly. Paris, April 1, 2003. Source: Embassy of France in the United States, Washington D.C.
In the Iraq crisis, France has chosen to act responsibly. Faced with Saddam Hussein's cruel and dictatorial regime, France placed herself, resolutely, together with a very large majority of the international community, on the side of the law, on the side of peace and in favour of Iraq's peaceful disarmament. In the war, this requirement to act responsibly leads France naturally to stand on the side of her allies, on the side of the democracies. So we hope the military operations will be as short and cause as little bloodshed as possible. Similarly, we have asked the countries in the region to refrain from any initiative which could aggravate the situation. We also have to act responsibly at home.
As the Prime Minister has stressed, the French must not mistake friend for foe. Let us be uncompromising in the defence of our values, in our opposition to any confusion of issues, all forms of racism, all forms of anti-Semitism, of hatred and intolerance. France also wants to choose unity. In the face of the threats hanging over the world – terrorism, proliferation, organized crime – the international community must mobilize and assert its unity. The risk of creating fault lines, the risk of division, the risk of clashes between cultures, societies and religions is clearly the major danger today.
At the European level, we have to overcome the divisions resulting from the Iraq crisis. The European Union must become one of the major centres of decision-making and action in the multipolar world. We have to give ourselves the requisite institutional and financial capabilities for a genuine common foreign policy and a genuine common defence policy. At the level of transatlantic relations, since this link is still and will remain a major factor governing our external action, a more self-assured European Union will make it possible to lay the foundations of a new revamped, balanced partnership with the United States at the United Nations, which must retain a central role not only in settling the Iraq crisis but also in rebuilding an international system and in a reconstruction of Iraq based on the law, moral values, and thus legitimacy. As they emphasized at a recent summit in Brussels, EU members are determined to place the United Nations at the heart of their action and the forthcoming meetings will have to be used for this purpose./.