Official Explains French Position on Iraq

DE VILLEPIN: He didn't say it that way. But it is true, it is true that we will take our full responsibility. And the French position is exactly the same than the Russian. And what we are saying is, 'Have we tried everything before using force?'

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, this position is frustrating the White House to no end. And I want to read you something that a senior U.S. official said to ABCNEWS just yesterday. The person said, "We're worried about Russia, but France is the only ally that is actively trying to turn the world against us."

DE VILLEPIN: Do you really, can seriously imagine that France is opposing the United States in this very crisis of Iraq? No.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what's happening though, isn't it?

DE VILLEPIN: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. France is not opposing the United States. You see, what good are friends out there, the friends who always are supporting you? And we're saying yes, you are right. You are the most beautiful—

STEPHANOPOULOS: But many people in the United—

DE VILLEPIN: That's not the way France believes in friendship.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Many people in the United States think this is a power play, that France is worried about a war where the United States is the only superpower and you're trying to create a new balance of power.

DE VILLEPIN: Do you want me to tell you, really, what France is worried about?


DE VILLEPIN: How many boys, American boys, are going to die in Iraq? Is it worth it? Have we tried everything before going to war? You see, as a European, as a French, we've known war for centuries on our ground, religious wars, civil wars, world wars. And we thank every day the support that the U.S., that the Americans, gave us during the First [World] War and the Second [World] War. But we know closely what war is and we're asking ourselves, 'Is this war worth it? Or is it not better to try our best to solve peacefully this crisis?'

STEPHANOPOULOS: But are you worried — and I know you spent some time in the United States, both you served your country there and also you spent some time growing up in the United States — are you worried about a fundamental break between the U.S. and France? You know France has come under more pressure, more criticism of the United States in recent weeks than I've ever seen before. Late night comics [are] ridiculing France, members of Congress [are] saying we should boycott French wine and cheese.

DE VILLEPIN: We've known that in the past. I've known that in the past. I was in the French embassy in '86 when happened the crisis of Libya. We've known that. It's nothing new. There's passion between our two countries. We have, we may have our own visions, but you see when you look at numbers, statistics here in France, we see there is no anti-Americanism in France. You know there's huge majority of the French that really love the United States. I've been, as you've said, living in the U.S. I love the U.S. I love the people of the U.S. I love the culture of the U.S., but what you see is at stake is not France and the U.S. It's Iraq. How do we deal with the crisis of proliferation? We should all be concerned, and I keep telling that to Colin Powell. Make sure that whatever we decide on this crisis, we stick together.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think you could convince the other members of the Security Council and prevent the United States and Britain from getting nine votes?

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