"NATO is ready to discuss bringing France back fully into the fold after signals from Paris that it may reverse its decision 41 years ago to withdraw from the alliance's military structures, officials said Thursday. President Nicolas Sarkozy set the tone with a foreign policy speech last month, in which he said that NATO was no rival to France's ambition of a robust European Union defense capability," reports the International Herald Tribune:
Endnote: NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer discussed the future of operations in Afghanistan with foreign policy experts from all parties in the German parliament:
Alliance diplomats note France has just taken the command of the 16,000-strong NATO-led peace force in Kosovo and has in the past played a command role in its larger Afghan peacekeeping operation. France could seek assurances from allies - not just the United States but more Atlanticist countries ranging from Britain to Poland - that efforts to build a proper EU defense capability would not suffer as a result of it rejoining NATO. Concrete steps may have to await publication in March of a wide-ranging "White Book" on French defense sector reform being prepared by a committee under the defense expert Jean-Claude Mallet.
Atlantic Community: Afghanistan: The Way Ahead