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Analytical Studies

2002 Evian Summit: Analytical Studies

Impressions of the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting
Paris, May 23, 2003

Pierre Marc Johnson

The press conference revealed important improvement in the relations between France and the U.S., as Secretary of State Colin Powell, in answer to a journalist’s question, qualified the relation between the two countries as "excellent." It was quite possibly the first time that the two men were seen in such a cordial public exchange since the epic United Nations Security Council Resolution of the pre-Iraqi war period. Some may believe that behind this is a conversation during this pre-summit in Paris about moving forward in terms of U.S.-France relations, but mostly the situation is attributable to the impact of the UNSC resolution earlier this week, which provided for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. This new resolution satisfies the U.S. inasmuch as it will allow reverting to some state of normalcy in terms of exports and imports in Iraq and to find a way to ease the demands on American authorities as they try to stabilize the situation in Iraq. As for France, it finds in that resolution a clear set of rules, predictability and more certainty, in terms of the roles to be played by the U.S. and the coalition as well as other members of the UN. Secretary Powell, during the press conference, went back to basics, evoking more than 200 years of relations between France and the United States, based on the promotion of individual freedoms, the pursuit of democracy and the role of private enterprise, which the Secretary presented as common values of the two countries, and which allows the two countries to move forward in spite of the important disagreements of recent months.

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