PARIS – Terming the American approach to dealing with terrorism "simplistic," French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine on Wednesday accused the United States of ignoring other nations' viewpoints and failing to take into account other global problems such as poverty.
In a radio interview, Védrine said France stood behind the United States after Sept. 11 and remained committed to fighting terrorism. But he added that the international community must also address the roots of the problem, such as poverty and injustice, and not simply resort to military solutions.
"We're threatened by a new simplistic approach," Védrine told France Inter radio, "which is reducing all the world's problems to the fight against terrorism."
Védrine, a member of the Socialist-dominated government led by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin that "co-habits" with Gaullist President Jacques Chirac, also suggested the Bush administration's foreign policy ignored outside views.
"On taking office, the administration's tendency was to approach world affairs unilaterally, without consulting others, acting on its own interpretation and its own interests," Védrine said.
The foreign minister urged Europeans to speak up when they disagree with U.S. foreign policy, citing the example of the Middle East conflict and the U.S. stance on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"If we're not in agreement with U.S. policy, we must say it," Védrine said. "For example, unanimously, Europeans do not agree with the White House's Middle East policy and believe it's an error to blindly support Ariel Sharon's policies of pure repression."
Védrine, a longtime aide to former Socialist President François Mitterand, was the primary author of 2001's France in an Age of Globalization, in which he criticized the "hyperpower" of the United States and called for a "multi-polar" world in which French ethics and culture would play a leading role.
— Fox News' Paul Wagenseil and the Associated Press contributed to this report.