(AFP) – Oct 31, 2007
PARIS (AFP) — A top US diplomat said Wednesday he regretted the French-bashing that took place in the United States over France's refusal to join the US-led war in Iraq.
Nicholas Burns, number three in the US State Department, called a decision to rename French fries as freedom fries in the US Congress foolish and he welcomed a new closeness between France and the United States.
"I surely hope that those Americans who renamed French fries into freedom fries, and those Americans who poured perfectly good French wines down American drains, I hope that they realise what foolishness that was," Burns told an audience at the American University of Paris.
"I think that now we regret that an honest disagreement over a very important issue -- whether of not to go to war -- was taken to such lengths by so many people in our country."
Five food outlets in the US Congress heeded calls by House Republicans in 2003 to inject patriotism into their menus and rename French fries as "freedom fries."
Relations between France and the United States have warmed noticeably since new French President Nicholas Sarkozy came to power earlier this year.
"There is no question that we are entering a new period in the relationship between France and America, and there is no question it's a dynamic, positive and optimistic period," said Burns, who is the US under secretary of state for political affairs.
"The tide has really turned in this relationship."
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