U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called for a new chapter in transatlantic relations on a visit to Paris. Although some European countries have backed the U.S. in Iraq, others, and France in particular, have been very critical of the invasion. Rice held talks with President Jacques Chirac, who is due to meet his American counterpart later this month, and France’s Foreign Minister Michel Barnier. Earlier she gave her first key foreign policy speech in the French capital. Some see it as a conciliatory gesture from President Bush’s second administration.
At a news conference Barnier said he believed the world is a better place when Europeans and Americans cooperate and work together. “I want very much to underline what Michel has said. This is a time for are invigoration of our longstanding partnership and friendship, to turn a new page and to take advantage of the many opportunities before us,” said Rice. One such opportunity could be working together towards a settlement in the Middle East. Europeans diplomats have praised Rice for leading a renewed U.S. peace-making role in the region. Continuing her 8-nation tour, Rice is due to visit Brussels and Luxemburg for talks with NATO and EU officials later today.