PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed Saturday that the United Nations must play a large role in running Iraq after the war, Chirac's office said.
Blair telephoned Chirac to tell him about his talks with President Bush at Camp David on Wednesday and Thursday, the presidential office said.
The two leaders "agreed on the importance of the role to be conferred on the United Nations after the conflict," Chirac's office said.
France vehemently opposed any military action in Iraq without the backing of the U.N. Security Council. Britain has been the United States' leading ally on Iraq and sent troops to fight alongside American soldiers, but U.S.-British disagreements have emerged on the best way to oversee Iraq after the war.
An exact plan hasn't been drawn up, but the Bush administration wants the United States to take the lead in Iraq's postwar transition, while several European countries including Britain are determined to give that role to the United Nations.
Chirac conveyed his condolences for the British losses in the war and reiterated his hope that the war "end as quickly as possible and with the least damage possible," his office said.
A poll published Saturday by the French daily Liberation showed that nearly eight out of 10 French are opposed to the military intervention in Iraq. The poll surveyed 1,000 people and no margin of error was given.
The poll by the CSA firm said 18 percent of French have confidence in Bush. Fifty-two percent had confidence in former President Clinton during the NATO strikes in Kosovo in 1999, the paper said.