President Bush telephoned French President Jacques Chirac Tuesday to hail their countries’ cooperation over the Haiti crisis, the latest sign of a gradual thaw in U.S.-French relations.
France and the United States, which fell out last year over Paris’s opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war, led pressure on Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down and have sent troops to restore order after an armed rebellion.
Bush called “to hail the excellent U.S.-French cooperation on Haiti and thank France for its efforts,” Chirac spokeswoman Catherine Colonna said, adding that Chirac also expressed his satisfaction about the tight coordination of their diplomacy.
Bilateral U.S.-French relations hit a low last year. Some top U.S. officials asked whether France still considered itself an ally and said it could expect punishment for the way it conducted its anti-war campaign.
Since then France has promised substantial debt relief for Iraq once power has been handed over to a sovereign government and Washington has relented on an initial ban on French firms bidding for major reconstruction contracts there.0