Â Just a year after Washington and Paris were so at odds over Iraq that some Americans changed the name of French fries to ”freedom fries,” the turmoil in Haiti is bringing the two nations closer together.
The deployment of U.S. and French peacekeeping troops to Haiti is continuing in what French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has called ”perfect coordination.” And President Bush called French President Jacques Chirac “to thank France for its action.”
At the root of the transatlantic reconciliation are several factors, from French concerns over a Haitian migration crisis to its frustrations with the three-year political crisis in Haiti, its former colony.
DISCORD, THEN REVOLT
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide faced mounting opposition demands for his resignation since disputed elections in 2000 and amid allegations of official corruption and brutality by pro-Aristide gunmen. An armed rebellion that erupted Feb. 5 helped drive him into exile Feb. 29.
Regis Debray, the leader of a French panel on relations with Haiti, said in a January report: “This mess, this hornet’s nest, this bazaar of the bizarre, this devil’s brew: few dividends for us if we give more than a halfhearted effort, and not much to lose if we get out of there once and for all.0