- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2001

The French style

The French approach to international affairs can be as complex as a vintage Bordeaux or as flaky as a fresh croissant.

That about sums up the conclusion of a special report on the French negotiating style by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

"France has an official position on virtually every important international issue, but it lacks the influence to effectively promote its positions outside of Europe," the report said.

The report is the result of a meeting of French and American academic experts, policy specialists and diplomats.

They concluded that:

• France has developed a reputation as a "spoiler" in foreign affairs by frequently challenging the United States.

"Rather than simply accept American positions, France occasionally allows negotiations to fail and prefers to portray itself as independent from the United States," the report said.

• France´s "negotiating behavior" on a particular issue is frequently related to the level of public interest at the time.

• "France´s international-policy positions and negotiating behavior are often characterized as being principled and as bearing a highly developed sense of history and the burden of being right."

The report noted that the French "rankle under American leadership," although the two countries have been allies more than 200 years.

"The entrenchment of the U.S.-dominated international system in the post-Cold War era has led to more frequent tension between the two countries," the report said.

France´s position as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council is one of its "last real measures of international influence," the report said.

"While the United States is seen as unilateralist and hegemonic in its diplomacy, French bargaining positions often result from failure to adjust to the postwar reality that French influence in the world has been greatly diminished."

The report was issued last month based on a forum held on Bastille Day, July 14, 2000.

The participants included Nicolas de Riviere, Francois Delattre and Benoit Claveranne of the French Embassy; Mike Parmly and Avis Bohlen of the State Department; Michael Iovenko of the French-American Foundation; Patrick Cronin of the U.S. Institute of Peace; and representatives of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Institute.

Realtor to Mauritius

President Bush has nominated a Utah real estate executive to be ambassador to Mauritius, an Indian Ocean nation east of Madagascar.

John Price is chairman and chief executive of J.P. Realty Inc. in Salt Lake City and is director of the executive committee of Alta Industries.

He was a member of the board of trustees of the University of Utah from 1992 to 1999.

On to the U.N.

The Tunisian ambassador who opened the Hannibal Club arrived this month in New York to represent his country at the United Nations.

Ambassador Noureddine Mejdoub left Washington in October after three years as ambassador here.

During his time in Washington, Mr. Mejdoub raised the profile of Tunisia with his Hannibal Club, named after the ancient military genius of Carthage, to recruit American diplomats and business executives to promote interest in his North African nation.

The club´s founding members include former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and three former U.S. ambassadors to Tunisia.

Hills leads China group

Ambassador Carla A. Hills, a former U.S. trade representative, is the new director of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.

Mrs. Hills, who served under former President Bush, replaced Barber B. Conable Jr., who had led the committee since 1992.

"She is a recognized leader in the international-relations field, whose distinguished career combines significant positions in government and the private sector with service to nonprofit organizations," Mr. Conable said in a statement.

The committee was formed in 1966 to promote U.S.-Chinese relations.

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