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Europe: Energy Deal Won't Harm U.S.-French Ties

Paris, 6 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen and his French counterpart Alain Richard pledged today their countries' bilateral ties will not be affected by a controversial $2 billion energy deal between the French firm Total and Iran.

Cohen told a news briefing during a visit to Paris that the two countries will maintain "a strong cooperative relationship into the future," with any differences to be discussed openly and with candor.

Richard said he agreed with what Cohen had said. Richard said France was monitoring Iran, but declined to say whether Paris agreed with Washington's assessment that Iran sponsored terrorism.

Cohen said Washington disagreed with French policy on the Total deal but said it was too early to think about sanctions. Under U.S. legislation, U.S. President Bill Clinton is required to apply sanctions to non-U.S. firms investing more than $20 million in the energy sector of either Iran or Libya.