View Full Version : Ook Chirac doet zijn best als vriend van Israel.

17 februari 2004, 00:41
Na het bezoek van Louis Michel in Jeruzalem waar hij de plooien heeft gladgestreken door niet alleen het land en haar volk, maar ook Sharon en diens ministers te prijzen, heeft ook Jacques Chirac zijn uiterste best gedaan tijdens het bezoek van de Israelische President Katsav aan Parijs. Hij brak zelfs uitzonderlijk het protocol en ging tegen de regels in de trap af om Katsav te gaan begroeten, terwijl hij meestal boven aan de trap wacht op zijn gasten.
Bovendien was de stad Parijs bevlagd met een ongekend aantal Israëlische vlaggen, aldus de aanwezige Israëlische joernalisten.

Chirac breaks protocol to greet Israel's President Katsav

French President Jacques Chirac broke protocol on Monday when he descended the red-carpeted steps of the Elysee Palace to welcome President Moshe Katsav who had taken swift strides down a very long red carpet in an attempt to overcome the late afternoon cold of Paris.

Israeli diplomats saw this as yet another sign of the determined effort that France is making to improve bilateral relations with Israel.

As a rule the president waits at the top of the stairs to receive his guests.

The break with protocol was not the only magnanimous gesture made by France. Israeli journalists stationed in Paris said that they had never seen so many national flags in the center of the city.

Clusters of Israeli flags flanked by French flags were arranged at close intervals in all the main streets of central Paris.

Throngs of people lined barricades put up along the routes that Katsav traveled and security was at an all time high with gendarmes posted within ten meters of each other throughout the city. SWAT teams were also very much in evidence.

Katsav and Chirac spent a long time discussing France-Israel relations, the Middle East conflict, the Iranian threat., anti-Semitism and other issues. The two got on so well that they were more than 40 minutes late to a news conference attended by some 70 journalists.

Chirac said that Katsav's visit presented the opportunity to strengthen and deepen old and far-reaching ties between France and Israel, and to demonstrate France's determination to continue to support the legitimacy and security of Israel.

"This is the heart of our foreign policy," he said.

Chirac did not flinch from acknowledging the price that Israel has paid to terrorism.

"There is no justification for terrorism," said Chirac, who condemned it unconditionally.