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French Parliament Votes in Favor of Bigger Role in NATO

The French parliament voted Tuesday in favor of rejoining NATO's military command more than 40 years after France pulled out complaining of U.S. dominance.

The measure was at the center of a no-confidence vote in President Nicolas Sarkozy's government. A total of 329 lawmakers voted to back the president and his foreign policy while 238 opposed him.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliament that France's return to NATO's military command is "an adjustment" that will give the country greater influence within NATO.

He said the NATO of 2009 is not the same organization as it was in 1966.

Opponents argued that full NATO participation will compromise French independence from U.S. influence.

Former French President Charles de Gaulle quit the command structure in 1966, saying France was losing its military independence to the United States.

Under French law, Mr. Sarkozy could authorize NATO reintegration without parliamentary approval. But proponents say the confidence vote adds to the legitimacy of the move.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.