Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi headed Wednesday to Germany and Russia, two countries that opposed last year's invasion, but France — which spearheaded criticism of the US-led war — has been kept off the tour.
… Allawi showed no interest in paying a visit to France, the other member of the trio of leading powers that opposed the invasion.
Allawi was irked by French calls to include Iraqi opposition groups in the international conference on the country's future which Egypt hosted last week in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
It was also displeased at France's call for the conference to discuss a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
French President Jacques Chirac had snubbed Allawi at a European summit in Brussels a month ago, following perceived criticism of Paris by the premier, while inviting Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar to Paris.
An editorial in the newspaper of Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party recently fuelled tensions between the two governments.
The article said that after refusing to send troops to Iraq, France had only itself to blame for the kidnapping of French reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who were abducted by an Islamist organisation in August.