HAHA . . . and all this time I thought the U.S. "liberated" Iraq!
In an hourlong interview at the Élysée Palace, Mr. Chirac laid out for the first time a two-stage plan for Iraqi self-rule, the first stage being a symbolic transfer of sovereignty from American hands to the existing 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, with that followed by the gradual ceding of real power over the next six to nine months.
The French president added that if the Security Council, France included, could agree on empowering Iraqis at once, France would be ready to train Iraqi police and soldiers — either in or out of Iraq. Mr. Chirac also said that France has no intention of sending troops to take part in the American-led military occupation force, although he suggested that circumstances could change.
"There will be no concrete solution unless sovereignty is transferred to Iraq as quickly as possible," Mr. Chirac said in the interview, speaking just before he departed for New York where he will meet President Bush on Tuesday.