WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Thursday he looked forward to working with the newly elected president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, while predicting they would not always agree.
Sarkozy’s election raises the possibility of a closer U.S.-French alliance, a shift from the strained relations Bush and outgoing President Jacques Chirac have had over Iraq.
Sarkozy has said France would be a friend to the United States but that there were differences in areas such as global warming that he would address.
Bush said he telephoned Sarkozy shortly after his election victory over Socialist Segolene Royal on Sunday. He said his call went through three minutes after it was scheduled and added, “I‘m so grateful that he took my phone call.”
“I had met with him before when he came over here and found him to be a very engaging, energetic, smart, capable person. We will have our differences and we will have our agreements, and I‘m looking forward to working with him,” Bush said.
But he dismissed talk of recruiting the conservative Sarkozy to be part of the coalition forces in Iraq.
“First of all, presidents don’t recruit. The people elect a leader with whom I will work,” he said.