Home>News Center>World

Britain and France must unite in face of threats
Updated: 2004-04-07 09:04

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has warned Britain and France they cannot afford to be divided while facing threats to their security.

Speaking during a state visit marking 100 years of Anglo-French ties, the queen acknowledged past difficulties between the nations throughout the ages.

French President Chirac greeted Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Paris.  [AP]
"We cannot let immediate political pressures, however strongly felt on both sides, stand between us in the longer term," she told a Monday night banquet hosted by President Jacques Chirac.

Just last year, Chirac and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair took divergent views on the Iraq war, with Britain sending troops as part of the U.S.-led coalition and France voicing strong opposition.

Delivering her speech in fluent French, Elizabeth said: "Neither of our two great nations, nor Europe, nor the wider Western alliance, can afford the luxury of short-term division or discord, in the face of the threats to our security and prosperity that now challenge us all."

Chirac hailed Britain's support for the French resistance during World War II and highlighted cooperation between the two countries in Europe, especially on defense.

"The United Kingdom and France share the same taste for broad horizons and the sense of duty that leads to exercising responsibilities at a world level," he said.

The queen said she hoped her stay, Chirac's planned autumn visit to Britain and this week's celebrations would "contribute to a new era of Franco-British partnership."

Raising a toast to the president and the people of France, she declared: "Vive la difference, mais vive L'Entente Cordiale."

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived in Paris earlier Monday on the Eurostar -- one of the strongest symbols of the two countries' ties.

Her first rail trip to Paris through the Channel Tunnel kicked off a three-day visit celebrating the centennial of the Entente Cordiale.

Children gathered at Paris' Gare du Nord station to welcome the queen.

London and Paris signed the historic pact on April 8, 1904, ending centuries of warring and hostilities between two colonial rivals.

Before departing London's Waterloo Station for Paris' Gare du Nord, the queen christened her train the "Entente Cordiale."

Once in the French capital, she was greeted by Chirac at Place de la Concorde, where she reviewed French troops.

They were driven up the famous broadway Champs-Elysees, which was lined with French and British flags and thousands of people.

A military brass band played the British national anthem and "La Marseillaise," and French schoolchildren cheered when the queen emerged from a dark Bentley.

The royal couple paid their respects at the Arc de Triomphe, with the queen placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

On Tuesday, the queen was being given a preview of paintings to be displayed next year in a new British gallery at the Louvre.

Riders from the Ecole Nationale d'Equestre were displaying their horsemanship skills for the queen, an avid equestrian.

Later, she was joining Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin for lunch at the Hotel de Matignon and delivering a speech at a joint parliamentary reception at the Senate.

There was also a walkabout planned on Rue Montorgueil, near the St. Eustache Church.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

Interpretations of HK Basic Law 'timely, necessary'



Leaders to talk Taiwan question with Cheney



Aviation sector to open wider



Red light for "feast on a beauty's body"



For sale: coastal islands



Panda cubs by the dozen coming soon


  12 US Marines, 66 Iraqis killed in battles
  Pakistan raids Islamic terror group
  Britain and France must unite in face of threats
  Saddam being held in Qatar: report
  Spain makes new arrest in Madrid bombings
  Russian nuclear expert convicted of spying
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
BBC slammed for rap claiming royals killed Diana
Queen Elizabeth II christens ocean liner
Queen 'devastated' by corgi death
Britain's Queen in Nigeria
Some Britons shocked at Queen's decor
Queen wins injunction to stop Mirror articles
  News Talk  
  April Fool's!