U.S. wants closer EU ties despite vote

May 31, 2005 at 5:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it will cooperate closely with the European Union despite the rejection by French voters of a common constitution.

"The reality is we have a lot of cooperation with Europe in some areas that are very important to us," spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We want to see Europe maintain and sustain that cooperation, and they've been able to do that cooperation with the level of cohesion that they have now."

French voters rejected -- 55 percent to 45 percent -- a European constitution Sunday that needs to be ratified by all the EU's 25 member states. The result led to a cabinet shakeup.

French President Jacques Chirac named former Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin as the country's new prime minister who will name other cabinet members this week.

The 51-year-old de Villepin replaced the unpopular Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who resigned after voters rejected the proposed European Union constitution Sunday.

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