jeudi 21 décembre 2006

Extrait du washington Post sur ma visite aux Etats-Unis

Socialist regional leader Royal, 53, a relative political newcomer with little foreign policy experience, has made little secret of the fact she would like to meet Clinton to bolster her international credentials.

But after gaffes by Royal on a trip to the Middle East, the Democratic Senator from New York, who is believed to be eyeing a White House bid in 2008, was less than enthusiastic about being seen together with the French candidate, Le Parisien daily said at the weekend, quoting a Clinton adviser

"Hillary, whose candidature is far from assured, is very vigilant and cannot afford the slightest false move," it quoted the adviser as saying. "She does not want to be associated with Royal's recent comments. It wouldn't be good for her image."

A spokesman for Royal said her trip, which was announced last month, had been postponed for scheduling reasons, declining to give further details.

Philippe Reines, a spokesman for Clinton, said in Washington that: "There was never a meeting planned or scheduled."


Royal earned much criticism from her political opponents after she apparently agreed with comments from a Lebanese Hezbollah politician condemning U.S. foreign policy and analysts said it could be risky for a U.S. candidate to be linked to her.

"The Clintons are very popular in France," said Hall Gardner from the American University of Paris.

"It would help Royal to be seen with Hillary. But the contrary isn't the case. ... Royal's contacts with Hezbollah may not go down well with Hillary's Democratic supporters."

On her recent Middle East visit, Royal waited a day before condemning comments made in front of her by Hezbollah politician Ali Ammar who described past Israeli occupations of the country as Nazism. She said she had not heard his words.

She was also forced to clarify her position after she seemed to agree with Ammar's assessment of U.S. foreign policy as "unlimited insanity."

Relations between Washington and Paris came under strain in 2003, when centre-right President Jacques Chirac strongly criticized the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The ascent of Royal and her likely conservative opponent Nicolas Sarkozy -- known for his pro-American stance -- have raised questions about future ties with the United States.

Royal has said dialogue with Washington could become easier under a less conservative government than that of President Bush, but she has also said the European Union had to be a counterweight to the United States.

Royal has played up her gender in her campaign to become president in 2007, and her support of Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first woman president, has won her much media coverage.

Clinton won re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate last month, heating speculation she will pursue higher political office. Prior to the poll, she insisted she was focusing on her re-election and had not made a decision on a White House bid.

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