One year after Washington and Paris quarrelled spectacularly over Iraq, US and French military and civilian peace-keeping forces will soon be patrolling beside one another on the streets and roads of Haiti.
The central role played by the French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, in the negotiations that led to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s relatively bloodless departure yesterday is the most visible sign so far of a thaw in Franco-American relations.
M. de Villepin Â with America’s unspoken blessing Â became the first foreign leader to urge Mr Aristide to stand down last Wednesday. His statement, which followed almost daily consultation with the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, helped to get Washington off a sharp diplomatic hook.
Since the US had reinstalled Mr Aristide in 1994, and had long supported him, Washington was reluctant to be seen Â especially in an election year Â to be the first country to push for his removal from power.0