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World > Europe > France > Foreign Relations (Notes)

France - Foreign Relations (Notes)


FOREIGN RELATIONS
A charter member of the United Nations, France holds one of the permanent seats in the Security Council and is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies. France is also America's oldest ally; French military intervention was instrumental in helping Britain's American colonies establish independence. Because many battles in which the United States was involved during World War I and World War II took place in France, more American soldiers have been killed on French soil than on that of any other foreign country.

France is a leader in Western Europe because of its size, location, and large economy, membership in European organizations, strong military posture, and energetic diplomacy. France generally has worked to strengthen the global economic and political influence of the EU and its role in common European defense. It views Franco-German cooperation and the development of a European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) with other EU members, as the foundation of efforts to enhance European security.

France supports Quartet (U.S.-EU-Russia-UN) efforts to implement the Middle East roadmap, which envisions establishment of a Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive peace agreement, France supports the involvement of all Arab parties and Israel in a multilateral peace process.

Since 2003, France has supported four UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Iraq, including UNSCR 1546, which laid out a timetable for Iraq's political transition and reaffirmed UNSC authorization for a Multinational Force in Iraq, at the invitation of the Iraqi government, to stabilize the country. France contributed to the 230 million euro EU contribution to Iraq reconstruction in 2003. After the Iraqi Interim Government took power, France agreed to substantial debt relief and offered police training to Iraqi security forces. In 2006, France and the U.S. collaborated closely to create a consensus in the UN to adopt UNSCR 1696 demanding action from Iran to end its enrichment-related and preprocessing activities.

France continues to play an important role in Africa, especially in its former colonies, through aid programs, commercial activities, military agreements, and cultural impact. In those former colonies where the French presence remains important, France has supported political, military, and social stability. France maintains permanent military bases in Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, and Senegal, and has maintained a long-term military presence in Chad. An attack on French forces in Côte d'Ivoire in 2004 led to the departure of thousands of French nationals from that country. France responded to the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire by dispatching Operation Unicorn, which has worked with UN forces to help stabilize Côte d'Ivoire. France has also deployed forces to Togo (in support of Operation Unicorn in Côte d'Ivoire) and to the Central African Republic, where French forces have assisted government forces in deterring rebel elements. France with EU partners, participated in an international military operation (EUFOR) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006, which played an important presence during in elections that year in the D.R.C. France was instrumental in organizing the June 2007 ministerial conference on Darfur and has shown leadership in increasing international interest and involvement in Chad and the Central African Republic, both of which are affected by the crisis in Darfur.

France has extensive political and commercial relations with Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Southeast Asia as well as an increasing presence in regional fora. France is seeking to broaden its commercial presence in China and will pose a competitive challenge to U.S. business, particularly in aerospace, high-tech, and luxury markets. In Southeast Asia, France was an architect of the 1991 Paris Accords, which ended the conflict in Cambodia.

Security Issues
French military doctrine is based on the concepts of national independence, nuclear deterrence, and military sufficiency. France is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and has worked actively with Allies to adapt NATO, internally and externally, to the post-Cold War environment. However, in 1966, the French withdrew from NATO's military bodies while remaining full participants in the alliance's political councils. In December 1995, France announced that it would increase its participation in NATO's military wing, including the Military Committee. France remains a firm supporter of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other efforts at cooperation.

Outside of NATO, France has actively and heavily participated in a variety of peacekeeping/coalition efforts in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans, often taking the lead in these operations. France has undertaken a major restructuring to develop a professional military that will be smaller, more rapidly deployable and better tailored for operations outside of mainland France. Key elements of the restructuring include reducing personnel, bases, and headquarters and rationalizing equipment and the armament industry. French active-duty military in June 2007 numbered about 350,000 (including Gendarmes), of which nearly 34,000 were deployed outside of French territory. France completed the move to all-professional armed forces when conscription ended on December 31, 2002.

France places a high priority on arms control and non-proliferation. After conducting a final series of six nuclear tests, the French signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996. France has implemented a moratorium on the production, export, and use of anti-personnel landmines and supports negotiations leading toward a universal ban. France is an active participant in the major supplier regimes designed to restrict transfer of technologies that could lead to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group (for chemical and biological weapons), the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the Missile Technology Control Regime. France participates actively in the Proliferation Security Initiative, and is engaged with the U.S., both bilaterally and at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to curb nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) proliferation from the D.P.R.K., Iran, Libya, and elsewhere. France has joined with the U.S., Germany, and the other three permanent members of the UN Security Council to offer a package of incentives and disincentives to Iran to halt its uranium enrichment activities. France has also signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. France maintains a color-coded security system, similar to that of the U.S., consisting of yellow, orange, red and scarlet threat levels.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Euro Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Euro Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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