French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Tuesday that the United States cannot solve Iraq's problems on its own, and that Iraqi officials he has met in Baghdad this week are hoping France can play a role in their troubled country.
Kouchner was speaking to French radio from Baghdad, where he arrived Sunday on a highly symbolic, surprise visit seen as marking a shift in France's relations with the United States and Iraq. It was the first visit by a top French official since the 2003 US-led invasion, which France fiercely opposed.
"It was necessary to be here," Kouchner said on RTL radio. "Everyone knows that the Americans cannot bring this country out of difficulty all alone."
Kouchner, who met with Iraq's president and two vice presidents, said the Iraqis are "expecting something" from France, without elaborating. Kouchner leaves Iraq on Tuesday.