France: No troops to Iraq

Jan. 20, 2005 at 4:53 PM

PARIS, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told CNN Thursday France would not be sending troops to Iraq, but is ready to help train Iraqi police.

"There won't be any French soldiers in Iraq, either now or later," said Barnier. The interview was taped Wednesday in Paris, a day before the second inauguration of President George W. Bush, and was released Thursday.

"We said clearly to the Iraqi president, with whom we had talks in Paris last week, that we would participate, that we want to participate, in Iraq's political and economic reconstruction, including in the security sphere, by contributing to the training of Iraqi police officers," said the minister.

Chirac used the meeting with Iraq President Ghazi Yawar to attempt to mend some fences. Relations between the two countries have been cool and Iraqi officials have openly criticized France for being among "spectators" to the crisis. Despite Chirac's offer to train police, Iraq has not yet formally accepted.

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