The American president is continuing his European tour. Now, George Bush is conquering Paris with his charm, after Berlin, Moscow, and St.Petersburg. The basic focus of negotiations with French President Chirac was traditional issues like the expansion of the anti-terrorist operation, the conflict between India and Pakistan, and cooperation between Russia and NATO. The subject of cooperation between America and the European Union in the field of steel was also touched upon. The presidents did not say anything ground-breaking at the press conference, although Jacques Chirac could not resist the temptation to show the independence of the foreign policy of his country. He kept silent in response to Bush’s appeals to jointly overthrow Iraqi President Hussein. No wonder. It is an open secret that the French government has a great interest in Iraqi oil, and there have been huge sums invested in the development of new deposits. A war with Saddam is not likely to help French companies work on their oil projects. Furthermore, the collapse of Hussein’s regime will automatically give an opportunity for American companies to access Iraqi oil, which are now going to apply pressure until they oust all competitors (French competitors in this case).
Jacques Chirac suggested that the USA join the Kyoto Protocol. Then, it was the American president's turn to remain silent – neither Paris, nor Washington are ready to sacrifice the interests of their oil companies.
As was expected, thousands of people protested George Bush’s visit. France is not only the fatherland of the Statue of Liberty, which was given to New York, it is also the country that gave birth to the anti-globalist movement. If the American president did not receive a hearty welcome in Berlin (not even in Moscow), then what could be expected in France? Although one cannot say that the number of the people protesting the visit of the American president was the largest imaginable. Police were expecting something bigger than what actually happened, 3.5 thousand policemen provided security for the American president.
Since it is Memorial Day today in the States, George Bush and Jacques Chirac left for Normandy, where the presidents took part in ceremonies devoted to the events of June 6, 1944. Tomorrow, George Bush arrives in Italy to participate in the Russia-NATO summit. In Italy, Bush will meet with Vladimir Putin and with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The European tour is in full swing.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov