PARIS, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier Monday described the Iraqi elections as "a victory for the Iraqi people" and as a first important step towards democracy.
"It is a victory for the Iraqi people and a first important step, which is indispensable for democracy and for the political process that we want to see and towards which we -- I'm speaking of the international community -- have been working for months," Barnier told France's private Europe One radio.
However, Barnier said: "There are other steps that must happen soon: the drafting of a constitution that allows an equitable representation of all Iraqi communities in Iraq, the adoption of this constitution, other elections in 2005 and then when the moment comes...the withdrawal of foreign troops so the Iraqi people can regain their sovereignty."
He also said the current political process remains fragile.
"Frankly, the Americans want to exit from this tragedy, this situation where their soldiers are dying....I won't go back over the reasons for the conflict and this war. Everybody knows the positions, notably that of France.... We don't regret anything. Wesaid what we believed and we are looking straight ahead," he said.
France strongly opposed the US-led war against Iraq.
Barnier also confirmed during the interview that he is to meet Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the coming days. Enditem