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French FM: Europe Must Play Bigger Role in Iraq

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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says Europe must play a bigger role in Iraq because the United States cannot solve the country's problems alone.

Kouchner was speaking to French radio Tuesday from Baghdad, where he held three days of meetings with Iraqi leaders. He is the first senior French official to visit Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Kouchner called on other European foreign ministers to visit Iraq and said Sweden's top diplomat, Karl Bildt, will make the trip soon.

Kouchner says that if Iraq asks for more United Nations assistance, France is ready to help.

Former French president Jacques Chirac strongly opposed Washington's military intervention in Iraq and limited France's role in the country.

His successor, Nicholas Sarkozy, has said he wants to repair relations with the U.S. that were strained by the Iraq war.

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

 

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