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February 27, 2003

SO ARE THE FRENCH COMING TO THEIR SENSES?

The UMP's president, Alain Juppe, the party's parliamentary head, Jacques Barrot, and Edouard Balladur, the head of parliament's foreign affairs commission, have also all warned that a veto risks a complete breakdown in relations with the United States and some European countries.

France has "avoided committing a mistake, which some are pushing for, that would have left it isolated: wrongly brandishing its right of veto," Juppe told a debate on the Iraq crisis in parliament on Wednesday.

"A veto is unimaginable," Claude Goasguen, another UMP lawmaker, told the daily Le Monde in its Thursday edition. "We are not going to break the United Nations and Europe just to save a tyrant," he said, referring to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Or has France just cut a deal to get Russia or China to cast the veto and take the heat?