France's foreign minister indicated Wednesday that he was trying to persuade President Nicolas Sarkozy to soften his long-standing opposition to Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
Bernard Kouchner, speaking on French radio, said Sarkozy has sought to put Turkey's bid on the back burner because the 27-member bloc needs to focus now on a simplified treaty on EU integration.
"I hope to have had a role ... in the change the president presented to us with a lot of force," Kouchner said on France-Inter radio. "The president's attitude hasn't changed, and he knows that for now, neither has mine" over Turkey.
Kouchner, who said he would travel to Turkey early next month, insisted there was not a "debate" on its EU bid between himself and the president, but a "dialogue."