Divide and conquer

US aware of efforts to split Europe over Iraq

By James Harding in Washington and Judy Dempsey in Brussels

Published: May 27 2003 22:01 | Last Updated: May 27 2003 23:25

The US administration was informed of and approved two European declarations earlier this year designed to isolate France and Germany over Iraq.

The involvement of officials in the White House and a consultant working with the administration in Washington came at a critical moment in the diplomacy in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

The statements were intended to show support for the Bush administration’s agenda and demonstrate that Paris and Berlin did not speak for Europe.The White House has maintained it was not behind the two statements but at the time welcomed the show of support. In Europe they caused great consternation, exposing the rifts over Iraq and undermining the effort to forge a common European foreign and security policy. The first statement, signed by the leaders of eight European countries, was written by the office of José María Aznar, the Spanish prime minister. Financial Times

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