French set to mend fences with the US

France's Foreign Minister, Herve de Charette, sets out for Washington today on a mission bearing all the hallmarks of an emergency fence-mending exercise. Officially, he heads the French delegation to a 30-nation Friends of Lebanon conference but he will spend barely a day in Washington, and the more likely reason is France's desire to resolve an incident highlighting the abject state of Franco-US relations. Mr de Charette reportedly left a lunch at the Atlantic Council in Brussels last Tuesday before a toast to his outgoing US counterpart, Warren Christopher.

Mary Dejevsky - Paris

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