PARIS, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- The high participation
rate of the Iraqis in their elections is "a piece of good news" and a "success
for the international community", French government's spokesman Jean-Francois
Cope said at the French private Europe 1 radio on Sunday.
"It was one of the unknowns in the
ballot. We can say at least that this campaign was held in some difficult
conditions with attacks and victims and death. And by this token, the first big
test was the participation," he said.
As to the question whether it can be seen as a
success for the Bush administration, the French minister replied "it was the
success of the international community" that has "completely supported" the
process, with of course the United States.
"France has always been saying to the international
community that it was an essential step," Cope added, affirming that to postpone
the ballot would not solve the problem.
As to an eventual agenda for the withdrawal of
American troops,the French minister said that "under the UN resolution, there's
a calendar, it is by the end of 2005. Now we have to see how things develop and
wait for the definitive results."
As to the French-American ties, Cope said "there are
many many many subjects" of cooperation between the two countries, notably in
the fight against terrorism.
The French-American relationship had been chilled
after France opposed to the US-led Iraqi war launched in March 2003. Enditem