Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Global test in action

The French have failed Kerry's global test. Terrorist groups won't be included in talks in Iraq.

France’s attempts at creating a coalition of Iraqis opposed to the interim government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi collapsed yesterday as Paris announced it had abandoned its opposition to an international conference to be held on the future of the newly-liberated country.

“We are no longer asking that non-governmental groups be invited,” French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said. “We have agreed with Egypt that this should be an intergovernmental affair.”

The conference, scheduled to take place Nov. 22-23 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh is part of a US-sponsored plan to mobilize international support for stabilization and reconstruction in Iraq.

“It’s an intergovernmental conference. I’m willing to recognize that only governments will participate,” Barnier told reporters after an informal meeting with European and North African counterparts.

Hours earlier, Barnier had said France wanted to include Iraqi political groups not linked to the government, telling LCI television that they should be included “so that this conference will be useful.” arabnews.com

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