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Britain's Straw says stands by attack on France
BRUSSELS, March 21 British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Friday he stood by accusations that France had prevented a peaceful settlement of the Iraq crisis despite a bitter complaint by his French counterpart.



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       ''I stand by the words I have used,'' Straw told British reporters at a European Union summit after what he called a difficult discussion among EU leaders on the U.S.-led war, unleashed without United Nations backing.
       ''I don't regret the fact that we have argued, that we disagree with the French position, because we do,'' he said.
       French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin telephoned Straw on Wednesday to protest after British ministers accused Paris of hastening war by threatening to veto any U.N. resolution that would have sent an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein.
       The French minister called the charge unworthy of a friendly nation and an EU partner. Relations between the two countries have sunk to their frostiest for years over Iraq, but Straw said he hoped differences would not spill over into other EU issues.
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