Tuesday, February 22, 2005
The Common Atlantic Home

President Bush shared a short press conference with Chirac following their dinner. With so little to share in policy terms apart from Syria, they had to fall back upon platitudes and values, especially Chirac:

Now, President Bush and I have always shared very -- always had very warm relations, which, in fact, translate, to a certain extent, of relations -- of warm relations that have always been characterized -- the links between our countries and the relations, be they bilateral or transatlantic ones, which have always been excellent between France and the United States.
Indeed, we have struggled for some two centuries, 200 years now, to uphold and keep alive these values which we share, and which our people share and hold very dear to their hearts, and which we are very attached to.

The consensus in the press was that unity of tone did not disguise the differences in substance, as this quote [translated by Expatica] from Liberation demonstrates.

"Once again France and America share the same goal of getting Iran and Syria to stop destabilising the region ... but to get there Bush still seems willing to contemplate the big military stick rather than the diplomatic carrot that France and its diplomatic partners are offering," it said.

The only note of substance was a shared condemnation of the murder of Rafik Hariri and a call for an investigation into his death by the United Nations. However, Chirac was demoting NATO today, in order to show that substance remained.


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