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UK Stresses Unity with France After Iraq

British Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday acknowledged differences between France and Britain over Iraq, but insisted there was more common ground than disagreement.

"On the question of Iraq, I think our differences at the time of the conflict are well known. But both of us are now working under UN Resolution 1546, both of us want to see a stable and democratic Iraq, and both of us will do what we can to ensure that happens," Blair told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting French President Jacques Chirac.

On the issue of Iran, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa, climate change, as well as European common defense, Britain and France were working "very closely together", Blair said.

On the Middle East, Blair said, the two countries would do their best to revitalize the peace process in the region.

Chirac, whose visit to Britain came after a period of strained relations between the two nations over a range of issues including the Iraq war, told reporters that France and Britain had a different analysis and different conclusions over Iraq.

However, the French leader said the two countries should look forward towards the future instead of looking back.

Chirac arrived in London on Thursday for a two-day visit to mark the 100 anniversary of the Entente Cordiale that ends centuries of rivalry between France and Britain.

After talks between Chirac and Blair at Downing Street earlier in the day, France and Britain signed a joint declaration pledging to tackle climate change.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2004)

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