France, Britain set out to rebuild bridges

Jan. 12, 2004 at 10:30 AM
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PARIS, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Britain and France Monday began trying to revive a diplomatic accord they signed 100 years ago.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was to speak to a formal dinner in Paris in both English and French to recommend a healing of the strained relationship the countries have in the wake of the Iraq war, the Times of London said.

The "Entente Cordiale," which resolved a number of colonial disputes and helped to forge an Anglo-French alliance against Germany, was signed in London on April 8, 1904, by Lord Lansdowne, the former Foreign Secretary, and Paul Cambon, the French Ambassador to London.

"No one would expect two great nations like ours to agree on everything, but we can achieve even more together than we already do and this year gives us a great opportunity to make that a reality," a written copy of Straw's speech says.

The accord's centenary is being marked by a state visit to France by Queen Elizabeth in April and a return visit by President Jacques Chirac in the autumn.

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