Foreign relations of France
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politics and government of
Foreign relations of the French Republic are the French government's external relations with the outside world. Located in Western Europe, France is a major European country that has played a prominent and historic role in the European and international history since Medieval times. France is a founding member of the United Nations, of NATO, and of the European Coal and Steel Community (the European Union's predecessor). Its main allies are Germany, Italy, the United States, the other NATO countries, and the European Union. As a charter member of the United Nations, France holds one of the permanent seats in the Security Council and is a member of most of its specialized and related agencies.
- 1 Napoleon
- 2 Second Empire: 1851-1871
- 3 Third Republic: 1871-1914
- 4 Third Republic: 1914-1940
- 5 Vichy regime: 1940-44
- 6 Fourth Republic
- 7 Fifth Republic (1958 to present)
- 8 International organization participation
- 9 International border disputes
- 10 Europe
- 11 Middle East
- 12 Algeria
- 13 Africa
- 14 Americas
- 15 Oceania
- 16 Asia
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 Bibliography
- 20 External links
Prussia joined Britain and Russia, thus forming the Fourth Coalition. Although the Coalition was joined by other allies, the French Empire was also not alone since it now had a complex network of allies and subject states. The largely outnumbered French army crushed the Prussian army at Jena-Auerstedt in 1806; Napoleon captured Berlin and went as far as Eastern Prussia. There the Russian Empire was defeated at the Battle of Friedland (14 June 1807). Peace was dictated in the Treaties of Tilsit, in which Russia had to join the Continental System, and Prussia handed half of its territories to France. The Duchy of Warsaw was formed over these territorial losses, and Polish troops entered the Grande Armée in significant numbers.
Freed from his obligation in the east, Napoleon then went back to the west, as the French Empire was still at war with Britain. Only two countries remained neutral in the war: Sweden and Portugal, and Napoleon then looked toward the latter. In the Treaty of Fontainebleau (1807), a Franco-Spanish alliance against Portugal was sealed as Spain eyed Portuguese territories. French armies entered Spain in order to attack Portugal, but then seized Spanish fortresses and took over the kingdom by surprise. Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, was made King of Spain after Charles IV abdicated.
This occupation of the Iberian peninsula fueled local nationalism, and soon the Spanish and Portuguese fought the French using guerilla tactics, defeating the French forces at the Battle of Bailén (June and July 1808). Britain sent a short-lived ground support force to Portugal, and French forces evacuated Portugal as defined in the Convention of Sintra following the Allied victory at Vimeiro (21 August 1808). France only controlled Catalonia and Navarre and could have been definitely expelled from the Iberian peninsula had the Spanish armies attacked again, but the Spanish did not.
Another French attack was launched on Spain, led by Napoleon himself, and was described as "an avalanche of fire and steel." However, the French Empire was no longer regarded as invincible by European powers. In 1808 Austria formed the War of the Fifth Coalition in order to break down the French Empire. The Austrian Empire defeated the French at Aspern-Essling, yet was beaten at Wagram while the Polish allies defeated the Austrian Empire at Raszyn (April 1809). Although not as decisive as the previous Austrian defeats, the peace treaty in October 1809 stripped Austria of a large amount of territories, reducing it even more.
In 1812 Napoleon could no longer tolerate Russian independence. He assembled a gigantic army and invaded. The French invasion of Russia (1812) Was a total disaster, caused primarily by weather, partisan attacks, disease and inadequate logistics. Only small remnants of the invading army returned from Russia. On the Spanish front the French armies were defeated and evacuated Spain.
Since France had been defeated on these two fronts, states it previously conquered and controlled struck back. The Sixth Coalition was formed, and the German states of the Confederation of the Rhine switched sides, finally opposing Napoleon. Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of the Nations outside Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies invaded France and Napoleon abdicated on 6 April 1814. The conservative Congress of Vienna reversed the political changes that had occurred during the wars. Napoleon's attempted restoration, a period known as the Hundred Days, ended with his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The monarchy was restored with Louis XVIII as king, followed by his brother. France was soon integrated into the reactionary international situation. However much of the Napoleonic liberalization of Western Europe, including Italy, and Germany, and adjacent areas became permanent
Second Empire: 1851-1871
Despite his promises in 1852 of a peaceful reign, Napoleon III could not resist the temptations of glory in foreign affairs. He was visionary, mysterious and secretive; he had a poor staff, and kept running afoul of his domestic supporters. In the end he was incompetent as a diplomat. Napoleon did have some successes: he strengthened French control over Algeria, established bases in Africa, began the takeover of Indochina, and opened trade with China. He facilitated a French company building the Suez Canal, which Britain could not stop. In Europe, however, Napoleon failed again and again. The Crimean war of 1854-1856 produced no gains. War with Austria in 1859 facilitated the unification of Italy, and Napoleon was rewarded with the annexation of Savoy and Nice. The British grew annoyed at his intervention in Syria in 1860-61. He angered Catholics alarmed at his poor treatment of the Pope, then reversed himself and angered the anticlerical liberals at home and his erstwhile Italian allies. He lowered the tariffs, which helped in the long run but in the short run angered owners of large estates and the textile and iron industrialists, while leading worried workers to organize. Matters grew worse in the 1860s as Napoleon nearly blundered into war with the United States in 1862, while his Mexican intervention in 1861-1867 was a total disaster. Finally in the end he went to war with the Germans in 1870 when it was too late to stop German unification. Napoleon had alienated everyone; after failing to obtain an alliance with Austria and Italy, France had no allies and was bitterly divided at home. It was disastrously defeated on the battlefield, losing Alsace and Lorraine. A.J.P. Taylor is blunt: "he ruined France as a great power.
Third Republic: 1871-1914
French foreign policy was based on a fear of Germany—whose larger size and fast-growing economy could not be matched—combined with a revanchism that demanded the return of Alsace and Lorraine. At the same time, imperialism was a factor. In the midst of the Scramble for Africa, French and British interest in Africa came into conflict. The most dangerous episode was the Fashoda Incident of 1898 when French troops tried to claim an area in the Southern Sudan, and a British force purporting to be acting in the interests of the Khedive of Egypt arrived. Under heavy pressure the French withdrew securing Anglo-Egyptian control over the area. The status quo was recognised by an agreement between the two states acknowledging British control over Egypt, while France became the dominant power in Morocco, but France suffered a humiliating defeat overall.
The Suez Canal, initially built by the French, became a joint British-French project in 1875, as both saw it as vital to maintaining their influence and empires in Asia. In 1882, ongoing civil disturbances in Egypt prompted Britain to intervene, extending a hand to France. The government allowed Britain to take effective control of Egypt.
France had colonies in Asia and looked for alliances and found in Japan a possible ally. At Japan's request Paris sent military missions in 1872–1880, in 1884–1889 and in 1918–1919 to helpI modernize the Japanese army. Conflicts with China over Indochina climaxed during the Sino-French War (1884–1885). Admiral Courbet destroyed the Chinese fleet anchored at Foochow. The treaty ending the war, put France in a protectorate over northern and central Vietnam, which it divided into Tonkin and Annam.
In an effort to isolate Germany, France went to great pains to woo Russia and Great Britain, first by means of the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, then the 1904 Entente Cordiale with Great Britain, and finally the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907 which became the Triple Entente. This alliance with Britain and Russia against Germany and Austria eventually led Russia and Britain to enter World War I as France's Allies.
Under the leadership of expansionist Jules Ferry, the Third Republic greatly expanded the French colonial empire. Catholic missionaries played a major role. France acquired Indochina, Madagascar, vast territories in West Africa and Central Africa, and much of Polynesia.
Third Republic: 1914-1940
French foreign policy was based on an alliance with Russia, and an informal understanding with Britain, all based on the assumption that the main threat was from Germany. The crisis of 1914 was unexpected, and when Germany mobilized its forces in response to Russian mobilization, France also had to mobilize. Germany then invaded Belgium and France, and the World War I had begun. France suffered very heavy losses, in terms of battle casualties and economic distress but came out on the winning side. At the Paris peace conference of 1919, vengeance against defeated Germany was the main French theme, and Prime Minister Clemenceau was largely effective against the moderating influences of the British and Americans.
Vichy regime: 1940-44
The fall of France in June 1940 brought a new regime known as Vichy France. Theoretically it was neutral, and maintained formal relationships with the United States. It was heavily influenced by Germany until November 1942, when Germany took full control. Vichy was intensely conservative and anti-Communist, but independent action was impossible with Germany controlling half of France directly and holding nearly two million French POWs as hostages. Vichy finally collapsed when the Germans fled in summer 1944.
The creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was first proposed by French foreign minister Robert Schuman and French economic theorist Jean Monnet on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. Though the UK was invited, its Labour government, then preparing for a re-election fight, did not join the initiative. ECSC was formally established in 1951 by the Treaty of Paris, signed by France, Italy, West Germany and the three Benelux states: Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Among these states the ECSC would remove trade barriers and create a common market for coal and steel. The ECSC was governed by a 'High Authority', checked by bodies representing governments, Members of Parliament and an independent judiciary.
Pierre Mendès France, was a Radical Party (France)|Radical party leader]] who was Prime Minister for eight months in 1954-55, working with the support of the Socialist and Communist parties. His top priority was ending the war in Indochina, which had already cost 92,000 dead 114,000 wounded and 28,000 captured. Public opinion polls show that in February 1954, only 7% of the French people wanted to continue the fight to keep Indochina out of the hands of the Communists, led by Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh movement. At the Geneva Conference (1954) He made a deal that gave the Viet Minh control of Vietnam north of the seventeenth parallel, and allowed him to pull out all French forces. That left South Vietnam standing alone. However, the United States moved in and provided large scale financial military and economic support for South Vietnam. Mendès France next came to an agreement with Habib Bourguiba, the nationalist leader in Tunisia, for the independence of that colony by 1956, and began discussions with the nationalist leaders in Morocco for a French withdrawal.
Fifth Republic (1958 to present)
President de Gaulle, 1958-1969
The May 1958 seizure of power in Algiers by French army units and French settlers opposed to concessions in the face of Arab nationalist insurrection ripped apart the unstable Fourth Republic. The National Assembly brought him back to power during the May 1958 crisis. De Gaulle founded the Fifth Republic with a strengthened presidency, and he was elected in the latter role. He managed to keep France together while taking steps to end the war, much to the anger of the Pieds-Noirs (Frenchmen settled in Algeria) and the military; both previously had supported his return to power to maintain colonial rule. He granted independence to Algeria in 1962 and progressively to other French colonies.
Proclaiming that grandeur was the essential to the nature of France, de Gaulle initiated his "Politics of Grandeur", He demanded complete autonomy for France in world affairs, which meant that it has it is majors decisions could not be forced upon it by NATO, the European Community or anyone else. De Gaulle pursued a policy of "national independence." He twice vetoed Britain's entry into the Common Market, fearing it might overshadow France in European affairs. While not officially abandoning NATO, he withdraw from its military integrated command, fearing that the United States had too much control over NATO. He launched an independent nuclear development program that made France the fourth nuclear power.
He restored cordial Franco-German relations in order to create a European counterweight between the "Anglo-Saxon" (American and British) and Soviet spheres of influence. De Gaulle openly criticised the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. He was angry at American economic power, especially what his Finance minister called the "exorbitant privilege" of the U.S. dollar. He went to Canada and proclaimed "Vive le Québec libre", The catchphrase for an independent Quebec.
De Gaulle resigned in 1969 after losing a referendum in which he proposed more decentralization.
François Mitterrand: 1981-1995
François Mitterrand, a Socialist, emphasized European unity and the preservation of France's special relationships with its former colonies in the face of "Anglo-Saxon influence." A part of the enacted policies was formulated in the Socialist Party's 110 Propositions for France, the electoral program for the 1981 presidential election. He had a warm and effective relationship with the conservative German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. They promoted French-German bilateralism in Europe And strengthened military cooperation between the two countries.
Shortly after taking office, President Sarkozy began negotiations with Colombian president Álvaro Uribe and the left-wing guerrilla FARC, regarding the release of hostages held by the rebel group, especially Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. According to some sources, Sarkozy himself asked for Uribe to release FARC's "chancellor" Rodrigo Granda. . Furthermore, he announced on 24 July 2007, that French and European representatives had obtained the extradition of the Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya to their country. In exchange, he signed with Gaddafi security, health care and immigration pacts — and a $230 million (168 million euros) MILAN antitank missile sale. The contract was the first made by Libya since 2004, and was negotiated with MBDA, a subsidiary of EADS. Another 128 million euros contract would have been signed, according to Tripoli, with EADS for a TETRA radio system. The Socialist Party (PS) and the Communist Party (PCF) criticized a "state affair" and a "barter" with a "Rogue state". The leader of the PS, François Hollande, requested the opening of a parliamentary investigation.
On 8 June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Sarkozy set a goal of reducing French CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050 in order to prevent global warming. He then pushed forward the important Socialist figure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as European nominee to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Critics alleged that Sarkozy proposed to nominate Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF to deprive the Socialist Party of one of its more popular figures.
Sarkozy normalised what had been strained relations with NATO. In 2009, France again was a fully integrated NATO member. François Hollande has continued the same policy.
Socialist François Hollande won election in 2012 as president. He adopted a generally hawkish foreign-policy, in close collaboration with Germany in regard to opposing Russian moves against Ukraine, and in sending the military to fight radical Islamicists in Africa. He takes a hard line with regard to the Greek debt crisis. François Hollande launched two military operations in Africa: operation Serval in Mali (the French armed forces stopped an Islamist onslaught on Bamako, the nation's capital city); operation Sangaris (to restore peace there as tensions between different religious communities had turned into a violent conflict). France was also the first European nation to join the United States in bombing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Under President Hollande, France's stances on the civil war in Syria and Iran's nuclear program has been described as "hawkish".
International organization participation
ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BDEAC, BIS, CCC, CDB (non-regional), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECA (associate), ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, FZ, G-5, G-7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Inmarsat, InOC, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SPC, UN, UN Security Council, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee
International border disputes
- Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands and Juan de Nova Island
- Comoros claims Mayotte
- Mauritius claims Tromelin Island
- Seychelles claims the Glorioso Islands
- territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana
- territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land)
- Matthew and Hunter Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu
France has maintained its status as key power in Western Europe because of its size, location, strong economy, membership in European organizations, strong military posture and energetic diplomacy. France generally has worked to strengthen the global economic and political influence of the EU and its role in common European defense and collective security.
France supports the development of a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) as the foundation of efforts to enhance security in the European Union. France cooperates closely with Germany and Spain in this endeavor.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Albania||See Foreign relations of Albania|
|Andorra||See Andorra–France relations|
|Austria||See Austria–France relations|
|Armenia||See Armenia–France relations|
|Azerbaijan||See Azerbaijan–France relations|
|Belarus||See Foreign relations of Belarus|
|Belgium||See Belgium–France relations|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||See Foreign relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Bulgaria||1879-07-08||See Bulgaria–France relations
|Croatia||See Foreign relations of Croatia|
|Cyprus||See Foreign relations of Cyprus|
|Czech Republic||See Czech Republic–France relations|
|Denmark||See Denmark–France relations|
|Estonia||See Foreign relations of Estonia|
|Finland||See Foreign relations of Finland|
|Germany||See France–Germany relations
Franco-German cooperation is widely seen as the engine of European integration.
|Greece||1833||see Franco-Greek relations|
|Holy See||See France–Holy See relations
|Italy||See France–Italy relations|
|Kosovo||2008-02-18||See French–Kosovan relations
When Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 17 February 2008, France became one of the first countries to announce officially about recognition of sovereign Kosovo. France has an embassy in Pristina. Kosovo has an embassy in Paris.
|Moldova||See France–Moldova relations
|Norway||See France–Norway relations|
|Poland||See France–Poland relations
Polish-French relations date several centuries, although they became really relevant only with times of French Revolution and reign of Napoleon I. Poles have been allies of Napoleon; large Polish community settled in France in the 19th century, and Poles and French were also allies during the interwar period. The official relations, having cooled down during the Cold War, have improved since the fall of communism. Currently both countries are part of the European Union and NATO.
|Romania||1396||See France–Romania relations|
|Russia||See France–Russia relations
Right after the breakup of the USSR, bilateral relations between France and Russia were initially warm. On 7 February 1992, France signed a bilateral treaty, recognizing Russia as a successor of the USSR. As described on the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the bilateral relations between France and Russia remain longstanding, and remain strong to this day.
|Serbia||1879-01-18||See France–Serbia relations
|Spain||See France–Spain relations|
|Switzerland||1798||See France–Switzerland relations|
|Turkey||See France–Turkey relations|
|United Kingdom||See France–United Kingdom relations
France and Scotland were military allies in the late Middle Ages through the Auld Alliance. From the Middle Ages onwards, France and England were often enemies, and occasionally allies. However, in the beginning of the 20th century a policy of entente cordiale (cordial agreement) was started. France and the United Kingdom became allies, and despite occasional tensions (such as: the perception among some in France that the British abandoned France in 1940; see Battle of France and Attack on Mers-el-Kébir), remain so to the present day.
A chronic point of contention is the future of the European Union. Under French president Charles de Gaulle France opposed on several occasions the UK joining the European Economic Community (as the EU was then called). De Gaulle argued that the UK had extensive alliances outside Europe, especially with the United States, and was famously suspicious of its European neighbours. After the UK joined the EEC, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher argued for and won a reduction of its contributions to the EEC budget. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair expressed scepticism at French economic policies, but forged an alliance with President Nicolas Sarkozy.
France established relations with the Middle East during the reign of Louis XIV. To keep Austria from intervening into its plans regarding Western Europe he lent limited support to the Ottoman Empire, though the victories of Prince Eugene of Savoy destroyed these plans. In the nineteenth century France together with Great Britain tried to strengthen the Ottoman Empire, the now "Sick man of Europe", to resist Russian expansion, culminating in the Crimean War.
France also pursued close relations with the semi-autonomous Egypt. In 1869 Egyptian workers -under the supervision of France- completed the Suez Canal. A rivalry emerged between France and Britain for control of Egypt, and eventually Britain emerged victorious by buying out the Egyptian shares of the company before the French had time to act.
After the unification of Germany in 1871, Germany successfully attempted to co-op France's relations with the Ottomans. In World War I the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, and was defeated by France and Britain. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire France and Britain divided the Middle East between themselves. France received Syria and Lebanon.
These colonies were granted independence after 1945, but France still tried to forge cultural and educational bonds between the areas, particularly with Lebanon. Relationships with Syria are more strained, due to the policies of that country. In 2005, France, along with the United States, pressured Syria to evacuate Lebanon. In the post-World War II era French relations with the Arab Middle East reached a very low point. The war in Algeria between Muslim fighters and French colonists deeply concerned the rest of the Muslim world. The Algerian fighters received much of their supplies and funding from Egypt and other Arab powers, much to France's displeasure.
Most damaging to Franco-Arab relations, however, was the Suez Crisis. It greatly diminished France's reputation in the region. France openly supported the Israeli attack on the Sinai peninsula, and was working against Nasser, then a popular figure in the Middle East. The Suez Crisis also made France and the United Kingdom look again like imperialist powers attempting to impose their will upon weaker nations. Another hindrance to France's relations with the Arab Middle East was its close alliance with Israel during the 1950s.
De Gaulle's policies
This all changed with the coming of Charles de Gaulle to power. De Gaulle's foreign policy was centered around an attempt to limit the power and influence of both superpowers, and at the same time increase France's international prestige. De Gaulle hoped to move France from being a follower of the United States to becoming the leading nation of a large group of non-aligned countries. The nations de Gaulle looked at as potential participants in this group were those in France's traditional spheres of influence: Africa and the Middle East. The former French colonies in eastern and northern Africa were quite agreeable to these close relations with France. These nations had close economic and cultural ties to France, and they also had few other suitors amongst the major powers. This new orientation of French foreign policy also appealed strongly to the leaders of the Arab nations. None of them wanted to be dominated by either of the superpowers, and they supported France's policy of trying to balance the US and the USSR and to prevent either from becoming dominant in the region. The Middle Eastern leaders wanted to be free to pursue their own goals and objectives, and did not want to be chained to either alliance block. De Gaulle hoped to use this common foundation to build strong relations between the nations. He also hoped that good relations would improve France's trade with the region. De Gaulle also imagined that these allies would look up to the more powerful French nation, and would look to it in leadership in matters of foreign policy.
The end of the Algerian conflict in 1962 accomplished much in this regard. France could not portray itself as a leader of the oppressed nations of the world if it still was enforcing its colonial rule upon another nation. The battle against the Muslim separatists that France waged in favour of the minority of white settlers was an extremely unpopular one throughout the Muslim world. With the conflict raging it would have been close to impossible for France to have had positive relations with the nations of the Middle East. The Middle Eastern support for the FLN guerillas was another strain on relations that the end of the conflict removed. Most of the financial and material support for the FLN had come from the nations of the Middle East and North Africa. This was especially true of Nasser's Egypt, which had long supported the separatists. Egypt is also the most direct example of improved relations after the end of hostilities. The end of the war brought an immediate thaw to Franco-Egyptian relations, Egypt ended the trial of four French officers accused of espionage, and France ended its trade embargo against Egypt.
In 1967 de Gaulle completely overturned France's Israel policy. De Gaulle and his ministers reacted very harshly to Israel's actions in the Six Day War. The French government and de Gaulle condemned Israel's treatment of refugees, warned that it was a mistake to occupy the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and also refused to recognize the Israeli control of Jerusalem. The French government continued to criticize Israel after the war and de Gaulle spoke out against other Israeli actions, such as the operations against the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon. France began to use its veto power to oppose Israel in the UN, and France sided with the Arab states on almost all issues brought to the international body. Most importantly of all, however, de Gaulle's government imposed an arms embargo on the Israeli state. The embargo was in fact applied to all the combatants, but very soon France began selling weaponry to the Arab states again. As early as 1970 France sold Libya a hundred Dassault Mirage fighter jets. However, after 1967 France continued to support Israel's right to exist, as well as Israel's many preferential agreements with France and the European Economic Community.
In the second half of the 20th century, France increased its expenditures in foreign aid greatly, to become second only to the United States in total aid amongst the Western powers and first on a per capita basis. By 1968 France was paying out $855 million per year in aid far more than either West Germany or the United Kingdom. The vast majority of French aid was directed towards Africa and the Middle East, usually either as a lever to promote French interests or to help with the sale of French products (e.g. arms sales). France also increased its expenditures on other forms of aid sending out skilled individuals to developing countries to provide technical and cultural expertise.
The combination of aid money, arms sales, and diplomatic alignments helped to erase the memory of the Suez Crisis and the Algerian War in the Arab world and France successfully developed amicable relationships with the governments of many of the Middle Eastern states. Nasser and de Gaulle, who shared many similarities, cooperated on limiting American power in the region. Nasser proclaimed France as the only friend of Egypt in the West. France and Iraq also developed a close relationship with business ties, joint military training exercises, and French assistance in Iraq's nuclear program in the 1970s. France improved relations with its former colony Syria, and eroded cultural links were partially restored.
In terms of trade France did receive some benefits from the improved relations with the Middle East. French trade with the Middle East increased by over fifty percent after de Gaulle's reforms. The weaponry industries benefited most as France soon had lucrative contracts with many of the regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, though these contracts account for a negligible part of France's economy.
Israel and the peace process
De Gaulle had hoped that by taking a moderate path and not strongly supporting either side France could take part in the Middle East peace process. However, peace negotiations between Israel, the Palestinians, and the Arab powers have almost always involved representatives of the one or both of the superpowers, but France has been universally excluded. In the Camp David accords between Sadat and Begin US President Jimmy Carter played an immense role, the French played virtually none. The French foreign minister complained that a separate peace between Israel and Egypt would not benefit Middle East peace, but none of the leaders involved were particularly concerned about what the French government thought. This pattern has repeated itself frequently. The Oslo Accords, the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty, and others were all negotiated and written with no input at all from France.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Iran||See France–Iran relations
Iran has generally enjoyed a friendly relationship with France since the Middle Ages. The travels of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier are particularly well known to Safavid Persia. Recently however, relations have soured over Iran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment and France supporting the referral of Iran to the United Nations Security Council. Under French President Jacques Chirac, relations were warm and friendly as the French government helped the Iranian government to hunt down PMOI terrorists.
|Iraq||See France–Iraq relations
Before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1991, France enjoyed friendly relations with former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, however the relationship turned sour once Iraq entered Kuwaiti soil and soon France cut off ties with Iraq. Following thirteen years, France resumed relations with Iraq in 2003. Iraq has an embassy in Paris and France has an embassy and a representative office in Baghdad.
|Lebanon||See France–Lebanon relations|
|Syrian National Council||
France recognized the SNC on November 21, 2011.
Relations between post-colonial Algeria and France have remained close throughout the years, although sometimes difficult. In 1962, the Evian Accords peace treaty laid the foundations of a new Franco-Algerian relationship. In exchange for a generous coopération regime (massive financial, technical and cultural aid), France secured a number of economic and military privileges. Economically, France enjoyed a preferential treatment vis-à-vis the Saharan wealth of hydrocarbons. Militarily, it could keep the Mers-el-Kébir base for 15 years and use the Saharan nuclear test-sites for another five years. France had used these sites to carry out its first nuclear tests (Gerboise bleue) in 1960. 90% or more of the Europeans established in Algeria (pieds-noirs) left the country in a massive exodus creating a difficult void in the bureaucratic, economic and educational structure of Algeria. On the other hand, the issue of the harkis, the Arabs who had fought on the French side during the war, was still to be solved at the turn of the 21st century, being somehow ignored by the French while seen as outright traitors by the Algerian people. On the economical level, Algeria remained for some time the fourth largest importer of French goods, conducting all its transactions with France in the Franc zone. Many Algerians were encouraged by French authorities and businessmen to migrate to France in order to provide workforce during the Trente Glorieuses (Thirty Glorious) growth. Relations between France and Algeria have remained closely intertwined, and France could not entirely escape from the chaos which threatened Algeria during the civil war in the nineties.
Ahmed Ben Bella, the first President of Algeria was reported in a 2001 interview as saying that "The Algerian people have lived with blood. We brought de Gaulle to his knees. We struggled against French rule for 15 years under the leadership of Emir Abdel-Kader Al-Jazairi. The Algerian population was then four million. French repression cost us two million lives. It was genocide. We survived as a people. Barbaric French atrocities did not subdue our fighting spirit."
On 23 February 2005, the French law on colonialism was an act passed by the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) conservative majority, which imposed on high-school (lycée) teachers to teach the "positive values" of colonialism to their students (article 4). The law created a public uproar and opposition from the whole of the left-wing, and was finally repealed by president Jacques Chirac (UMP) at the beginning of 2006, after accusations of historical revisionism from various teachers and historians.
Algerians feared that the French law on colonialism would hinder the task the French confronting the dark side of their colonial rule in Algeria because article 4 of the law decreed among other things that "School programmes are to recognise in particular the positive role of the French presence overseas, especially in North Africa, ..." Benjamin Stora a leading specialist on French Algerian history and an opponent of the French law on colonialism, said "France has never taken on its colonial history. It is a big difference with the Anglo-Saxon countries, where post-colonial studies are now in all the universities. We are phenomenally behind the times." In his opinion, although the historical facts were known to academics, they were not well known by the French public and this led to a lack of honesty in France over French colonial treatment of the Algerian people.
During the period that the French law on colonialism was in force, several Algerians and others raised issues and made comments to emphasise that there were many aspects of French colonial rule that were not widely known in France. A senior Algerian official Mohamed El Korso said that "[French] repentance is seen by the Algerian people as a sine qua non before any Franco-Algerian friendship treaty can be concluded." and with reference to the Setif massacre that "French and international public opinion must know that France committed a real act of genocide in May 1945" The Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika said Algeria had "never ceased waiting for an admission from France of all the acts committed during the colonial period and the war of liberation." and drew comparisons between the burning of the bodies of the victims of the with Setif massacre with the crematoria in the Nazi death camps. More recently on 17 April 2006, Bouteflika emphasised Algeria's point of view when said in a speech in Paris that "Colonization brought the genocide of our identity, of our history, of our language, of our traditions".
French authorities responded to the claims by President Bouteflika and others by playing down the comments, urging "mutual respect" French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier told Algeria in an official visit to make a common effort to search history "in order to establish a common future and overcome the sad pages". In an interview with El Vatan, an Algerian newspaper, Barnier said that "Historians from two sides must be encouraged to work together. They must work on the common past". French authorities asked president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to study with France the disarmed 150,000 Harkis killed without another reason that revenge, by his party, the National Liberation Front (FLN).
French President Jacques Chirac, upon harsh reactions to the law encouraging the good sides of the French colonial history, made the statement, "Writing history is the job of the historians, not of the laws." According to Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, "speaking about the past or writing history is not the job of the parliament."
The issue of the French human rights record in Algeria is also politically sensitive in Turkey. France recognized Armenian genocide by the Turks in 1998. In response to the action of the French parliament, making it an offense to deny the existence of such a genocide, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey drafted a bill in October 2006 to make it illegal to deny that the French committed genocide in Algeria. Turkish party leaders, including CHP, MHP, BBP and ANAP called on France to recognize what they called "Algerian genocide". However, the draft never became an official law.
France plays a significant role in Africa, especially in its former colonies, through extensive aid programs, commercial activities, military agreements, and cultural impact. In those former colonies where the French presence remains important, France contributes to political, military, and social stability. Many think that French policy in Africa - particularly where British interests are also involved - is susceptible to what is known as 'Fashoda syndrome'. Others have criticized the relationship as neocolonialism under the name Françafrique, stressing France's support of various dictatorships, among others: Omar Bongo, Idriss Déby, and Denis Sassou Nguesso.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Angola||See Angola–France relations
Relations between the two countries have not always been cordial due to the former French government's policy of supporting militant separatists in Angola's Cabinda province and the international Angolagate scandal embarrassed both governments by exposing corruption and illicit arms deals. Following French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit in 2008, relations have improved.
|Chad||See Chad–France relations
The French military has been present in Chad since 1986 in the frame of Operation Epervier.
|Central African Republic|
|Côte d'Ivoire||In 2002 and 2003, France participated in military interventions in Côte d'Ivoire (see Operation Licorne and UNOCI, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, helping in the evacuation of foreign residents and the protection of civilians from warring factions.|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||
France and Germany decided on a concerted military operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This operation included sending 1500 European troops to the DRC to support fair and regular presidential elections in June 2006. While Germany leads the mission, both France and Germany provide 500 soldiers each, with the rest of the soldiers coming from other European countries.
Many scholars of the European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) question whether the mission is of great use, and argue that it is rather symbolic in character. With 17.000 United Nations forces already deployed in the DRC the purpose of such a small operation remains questionable. The European troops will be stationed in the capital-city Kinshasa only. It is probable however, that the expertise of former peace-building missions on the Balkans will be useful in order to prevent any major escalation during the elections.
In 2013, France's then president on his visit to DRC suggested that prisoners Joshua French and Tjostolv Moland should be moved out of the situation of their six-man prison cell; five days later the two prisoners shared a cell of their own.
|Gabon||See France–Gabon relations
Since independence, Gabon has been "one of France's closest allies in Africa". As of 2008, around 10,000 French nationals lived and worked in Gabon, while the 6th Marine Infantry Battalion of the French military is also stationed there.
|Libya||See France–Libya relations
In the 1980s, Libyan-French discord centered on the situation in Chad. As mentioned, the two countries found themselves supporting opposite sides in the Chadian Civil War. In late 1987, there were some French troops in Chad, but French policy did not permit its forces to cross the sixteenth parallel. Thus, direct clashes with Libyan soldiers seemed unlikely.
On March 10, 2011, France was the first country in the world to recognise the National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya, in the context of the 2011 Libyan civil war against Muammar Gaddafi.
|Mauritania||See France–Mauritania relations
The relations date back to the colonial era when Mauritania was part of French West Africa.
|Niger||See France–Niger relations
The relations between France and the Republic of Niger are based on a long shared history and the more than sixty year rule of Niger by French colonial empire beginning with the French conquest in 1898. Niger obtained independence from France in 1960, and a history of French influenced culture and French language have been a point of commonality in the creation of a distinctive Nigerien culture from the diverse pre-colonial nationalities which make up modern Niger. France benefited economically from their time as a colonial power, and still relies on imports from Niger for elements of their economy.
|Rwanda||In the period from 1990, until the Rwandan genocide, France (under Mitterrand) took a role sympathetic to the Habyarimana government.|
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Argentina||1829||See Argentina–France relations
|Barbados||1968-05-03||See Barbados–France relations
Barbados is represented in France through its embassy in Brussels (Belgium). France is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and an honorary consulate in Bridgetown.
|Brazil||See Brazil–France relations
France has recognized Brazil as its special partner in South America and as a global player in international affairs. The two countries' are committed to strengthening their bilateral cooperation in the areas for which working groups have been created: nuclear energy, renewable energies, defence technologies, technological innovation, joint cooperation in African countries and space technologies, medicines and the environment. Recently, France announced its support to the Brazilian bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
|Canada||See Canada–France relations|
|Colombia||1830||See Colombia–France relations
Relations with Colombia have been dimmed, by the Ingrid Betancourt issue from 2002 to 2008; in 2002, Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian and French citizen and the green party candidate to the presidency of Colombia, was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), France pushed the Colombian government to free FARC prisoners to get Mrs Betancourt back; Colombia once consented with these efforts and in 4 June. 2007; 30 FARC members were liberated, including the leader Rodrigo Granda.
|Mexico||26 November 1826||See France–Mexico relations
|Trinidad and Tobago||See France–Trinidad and Tobago relations
Bilateral relations between the countries France and Trinidad and Tobago have existed for about two hundred years. Currently, France has an embassy in Port of Spain. Trinidad and Tobago is represented in France through its embassy in Brussels (Belgium). Trinidad and Tobago also has bilateral investment agreements with France.
|United States||See France–United States relations
Relations between the United States and France are active and cordial. Mutual visits by high-level officials are conducted on a regular basis and bilateral contact at the cabinet level is active. France and the United States cooperate closely on some issues (such as anti-terrorism) but differ on others (such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a number of trade issues). Differences are discussed frankly. The largest current fallout between the United States and France involves the Iraq War, and some aspects of the post-September 11 War on Terror, e.g., CIA "extraordinary renditions".
|Venezuela||See France–Venezuela relations|
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Australia||See Australia–France relations
In August 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy became the first serving French leader to visit Australia. The Courier Mail reported that "serious bilateral issues" for Sarkozy and Kevin Rudd to discuss included "the war in Afghanistan and global warming".
|Fiji||See Fiji–France relations
Relations between the France| and the Fiji are currently strained, due to France's condemnation of the coup d'état in Fiji in December 2006. Previously, Franco-Fiji bilateral relations had primarily be centred on military cooperation, with France assisting Fiji in surveiling its maritime zone, and on development aid. French military assistance was suspended after the coup. French aid to Fiji includes the providing of equipment for poor and isolated areas, and assistance in the development of renewable energy. France also provides Fiji with translations into English of French scientific documents pertaining to the Pacific area. France promotes French culture and the French language in Fiji through the presence of the Alliance Française and by encouraging the teaching of French in schools and at the University of the South Pacific. The French embassy in Suva is accredited to Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu.
|Kiribati||See France–Kiribati relations|
In 1995, Nauru broke off relations diplomatic relations with France to protest French nuclear testing in the Pacific. Relations were resumed in 1997. Nauruan President Ludwig Scotty paid a State visit to Paris in June 2006, when he attended a France-Oceania multilateral summit.
|New Zealand||See France–New Zealand relations
Relations between France and New Zealand have been rocky at the best of times, but more recently become much closer. Bilateral relations have been good since World War I and World War II, with both countries working extremely closely during either conflicts, but the relationship was severely jeopardised by the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland on 10 July 1985 by French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) agents. New Zealand was put under fierce economic strain by France following the attack with French Government demanding the agents who carried out the attack to be released by the New Zealand government. Since then there has been some animosity among New Zealanders towards the French, but since the 20th anniversary of the bombing in 2005, there were signs that New Zealand had begun to warm to the French. There has been speculation that this acceptance of the French by the New Zealand people has a lot to do with the historic rivalry between both countries' Rugby teams.
|Papua New Guinea||1976||See France–Papua New Guinea relations
Relations between the French Republic and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea are limited but cordial. Papua New Guinea is a member of the United Nations' Special Committee on Decolonization. The French government has noted what it calls Port Moresby's "moderate" attitude on the issue of the decolonisation of New Caledonia - which, like Papua New Guinea, is located in Melanesia. The French National Assembly maintains a Friendship Group with Papua New Guinea.
|Vanuatu||See France–Vanuatu relations
Vanuatu, then known as the New Hebrides, was a Franco-British Condominium from 1906 to 1980, and maintained formal relations with both of its former colonial masters after gaining independence. Franco–ni-Vanuatu relations were rocked by a series of crises in the 1980s, and broke down completely on several occasions, with Vanuatu expelling the French ambassador in 1981, in 1984 and in 1987. Relations improved from the 1990s onwards, and, today, France provides development aid to Vanuatu. The two countries also share amicable economic and cultural relations; both are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
France has extensive political and economical relations with Asian countries, including China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia as well as an increasing presence in regional fora. France was instrumental in launching the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) process which could eventually emerge as a competitor to APEC. France is seeking to broaden its commercial presence in China and will pose a competitive challenge to U.S. business, particularly in aerospace, high-tech, and luxury markets. In Southeast Asia, France was an architect of the Paris Peace Accords, which ended the conflict in Cambodia.[dubious ]
France does not have formal diplomatic relationships with North Korea. North Korea however maintains a delegation (not an embassy nor a consulate) near Paris. As most countries, France does not recognize, nor have formal diplomatic relationships with Taiwan, due to its recognition of China; however, Taiwan maintains a representation office in Paris which is similar to an embassy. Likewise, the French Institute in Taipei has an administrative consular section that delivers visas and fulfills other missions normally dealt with by diplomatic outposts.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Brunei||8 May 1984||See Brunei–France relations|
|Burma||See Burma–France relations
Following the end of World War II, ambassador-level diplomatic relationships between France and Burma were established in 1948, soon after the Burmese nation became an independent republic on 4 January 1948, as Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister.
|China||See China–France relations
During the 1990s, France and the PRC repeatedly clashed as a result of the PRC's One China Policy. France sold weapons to Taiwan, angering the Beijing government. This resulted in the temporary closure of the French Consulate-General in Guangzhou. France eventually agreed to prohibit local companies from selling arms to Taiwan, and diplomatic relations resumed in 1994. Since then, the two countries have exchanged a number of state visits. Today, Sino-French relations are primarily economic. Bilateral trade reached new high levels in 2000. Cultural ties between the two countries are less well represented, though France is making an effort to improve this disparity.
|India||See France–India relations
France and India established diplomatic relationships soon after India achieved independence in 1947. India's strong diplomatic ties with France resulted in the peaceful cession of Pondichéry to India in 1 November 1954 without any military opposition from France.
France was the only country that did not condemn India's decision to go nuclear in 1998. In 2003, France became the largest supplier of nuclear fuel and technology to India and remains a large military and economic trade partner. India's permanent member aspirations in the UN Security Council have found very strong support from former French President Chirac. The recent decision by the Indian government to purchase French Scorpène class submarines worth 3 billion USD and 43 Airbus aircraft for Indian Airlines worth 2.5 billion USD has further cemented the strategic, military and economic co-operation between India and France.
|Indonesia||See France–Indonesia relations
The relations between France and Indonesia have been increasing of late, while Indonesia has become increasingly strategic to the government and people of France. Not only because of economic development (there are 110 French multinational companies operated in Indonesia), it also because France viewed Indonesia has been playing an increasingly significant international role.
France has an embassy in Jakarta while Indonesia has an embassy in Paris. The relations between two nations are important as both are democratic republics and both holds significant geopolitical influences in each regions, France is indispensable member of European Union, as well as Indonesia for Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The diplomatic relation between France and Indonesia is also a key element for developing relations between Indonesia and the European Union and between France and the ASEAN. Both nations are the member of G-20 major economies.
|Israel||12 January 1949||See France–Israel relations|
|Japan||See France–Japan relations
Recently France has been very involved in trade and cultural exchange initiatives with Japan. Some people see this as being a result of French leader Jacques Chirac being a Japanophile. Chirac has visited Japan over 40 times, probably more than any other world leader outside of Japan, and is an expert on the country. France has started the export promotion campaign "Le Japon, c'est possible" and the international liaison personnel exchange JET Programme. Together they built the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris.
France and Japan have also worked together to improve dire health situations from AIDS and underdevelopment in Djibouti, Madagascar, Uganda, and other countries.
Japan and France are also known to share ideas with each other in the realms of art and cooking. Japan has been heavily influenced by French cuisine within the past few decades, as seen on the television show Iron Chef. Anime is popular in France, and French historical figures and settings from medieval, Renaissance, Napoleonic, and World War eras have served as models for certain popular stories in Japanese entertainment. The purity of Japanese painting and illustration, and likewise the modernity and elegance of French visual arts has resulted in hybrid styles in those creative fields.
For more on Franco-Japanese relations visit Japan-France Relations. (English)
|Malaysia||1957||See France–Malaysia relations
|North Korea||See France–North Korea relations
Relations between the France and North Korea are officially non-existent. France is one of the two European Union members not to recognise North Korea, the other being Estonia. France therefore officially recognises South Korean sovereignty over the Korean peninsula. There is no French embassy, nor any other type of French diplomatic representation, in Pyongyang, and no DPRK embassy in Paris. There is, however, a North Korean diplomatic office in Neuilly sur Seine, near Paris.
Pakistan and France have high levels of diplomatic meetings and enjoy very friendly bilateral relations. However, these good relations haven't been around very long due to a variety of reasons. Trade between the two countries is generally increasing with time. See also Pakistanis in France, Musa Javed Chohan: former ambassador of Pakistan to France and recipient of the Ordre National du Merite for the promotion of bilateral cooperation between France and Pakistan.
|Philippines||See France–Philippines relations
The France–Philippines relations refers to the foreign relations between France and the Philippines. In 1947, France and the Philippines signed a Treaty of Amity which established diplomatic relations with the two countries.
|South Korea||See France–South Korea relations
France and South Korea maintain very good relations. They collaborate on many topics and issues that are facing the world today. This was seen especially on the question of North Korea, which is of course a matter of great importance for both countries. Besides bilateral cooperation, France and South Korea also work together in international organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, the OECD, etc. On the matter of North Korea, France is one of the few European countries to not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea. Also, France has supported the Six-party talks as well as the role of the IAEA in finding solutions to the nuclear issue.
|Thailand||See France–Thailand relations
France–Thailand relations cover a period from the 16th century until modern times. Relations started in earnest during the reign of Louis XIV with numerous reciprocal embassies, and a major attempt by France to Christianize Siam (modern Thailand) and establish a French protectorate, which failed when the country revolted against foreign intrusions in 1688. France would only return more than a century and a half later as a modernized colonial power, engaging in a struggle for territory and influence against Thailand in the Indochinese Peninsula, which would last until the 20th century.
|Turkmenistan||See France–Turkmenistan relations
Diplomatic relations were established on March 6, 1992 signing of the Protocol. In France, have the Embassy of Turkmenistan, in Ashgabat have The Embassy of France. The French construction company «Bouygues», the company is the second largest in Turkmenistan signed contracts for the construction of buildings. French company «Thales Alenia Space» construction of the first space satellite Turkmen Sat.
|Vietnam||See France–Vietnam relations
France–Vietnam relations started as early as the 17th century with the mission of the Jesuit father Alexandre de Rhodes. Various traders would visit Vietnam during the 18th century, until the major involvement of French forces under Pigneau de Béhaine to help establish the Nguyễn Dynasty from 1787 to 1789. France was heavily involved in Vietnam in the 19th century under the pretext of protecting the work of Catholic missionaries in the country. France progressively carved for itself a huge colony, which would form French Indochina in 1887. France continued to rule Vietnam as a colony until France's defeat in the First Indochina War and the proclamation of Vietnam's independence in 1954.
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- French colonisation of the Americas
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- International relations (1814–1919)
- Overseas departments and territories of France
- List of French possessions and colonies
- List of diplomatic missions in France
- List of diplomatic missions of France
- Visa requirements for French citizens
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