INTRODUCTION: The Vice-President of Iraq, Tarek Aziz, met French President Francois Mitterrand and several of his ministers in Paris on Wednesday (19 August).
GV Elysee Palace, cameramen and reporters waiting at steps (3 shots)
SV Mr. Aziz emerges, question put by journalist. Aziz replies at 24 seconds. French translator at 53 seconds
CU Photographer PAN TO SV Mr. Aziz moving to car followed by newsmen (2 shots)
Background: INTRODUCTION: The Vice-President of Iraq, Tarek Aziz, met French President Francois Mitterrand and several of his ministers in Paris on Wednesday (19 August). Mr. Aziz had gone to France to discuss the rebuilding of Iraq's nuclear reactor which was destroyed by the Israeli air force attack in early June. Prior to the talks the Iraqis let it be known a refusal could affect other areas of Franco-Iraqi co-operation.
SYNOPSIS: The talk between the French government and the Iraqi delegation where sensitive because both countries had prefixed the meeting with hardline statements.
When Mr. Aziz emerged to face a battery of questions, newsmen were anxious to know if the pre-conditions had been acceptable. Franco had said ti wanted to substitute highly enriched uranium with a less proliferating fuel nicknamed 'Caramel'.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had said the French reaction to the request to rebuild the nuclear reactor was a test for future relationships between the two countries. Iraq is the second biggest oil supplier to France after Saudi Arabia and is also an important buyer of french military hardware. There had also been suggestions Baghdad might ask other countries to develop a nuclear programme. A French translator assisted Mr. Aziz.
Despite the intense questioning, the Iraqi Vice-President would only say that he had transmitted a message of friendship to President Mitterrand and expressed the wish of President Hussein that co-operation between the two countries would continue. Mr. Aziz did say he was satisfied with the talks. The visit was the first top-level Iraqi contact since President Mitterrand's election in May. later, a senior French government official confirmed that France had agreed in principle to help in the rebuilding of the nuclear reactor, but controls would be tightened. It's believed Mr. Mitterrand made this insistence so the plant could not be used for military purposes. Reuters news agency reports that France has indicated willingness to help Iraq's energy and technological development, while upholding opposition to nuclear proliferation.
Mr. Aziz made no reference to tighter nuclear controls. After meeting with Mr. Mitterrand the Iraqi envoy had detailed talks with French Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy and other cabinet ministers.