Malaysia, France to alleviate Iraqi suffering

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 (South News) -- France is keen to work together with Malaysia regarding the situation in Iraq, particularly towards alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people, a French senator said today.

Senator Xavier de Villepin, who is chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces of the French Senate, said this was due to Malaysia's position as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Iraq has been slammed with crippling UNSC sanctions since 1990.

"It is very important to know the point of view of the Malaysian government because Malaysia is a Muslim country, it now belongs to the Security Council and I'm sure for the next two years we will have the opportunity to work together at the UN.

"So cooperation with Malaysia in the Council on the question of Iraq and on many other points is important for France," he told reporters after calling on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, here. France is one of the five permanent members of the Council.

"Both our countries agree on the fact that we have to find better solutions, thinking particularly of the Iraqi people who have been suffering a lot, de Villepin told journalists after calling on Mahathir.

"I think both our countries agreed on the fact that we have to find a better solution (in Iraq), thinking particularly about the Iraqi people who have been suffering a lot," he said.

"We should also try to find a new form of disarmament control, which is an important point for France, and also on the oil-for-food deal because certainly we have to think about the end of the sanctions in Iraq," he said.

Prior to his meeting with Dr Mahathir, de Villepin had talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. De Villepin said they also discussed world financial and economic issues, and several bilateral matters between France and Malaysia.