newsNATURE|VOL 422|10 APRIL 2003|www.nature.com/nature551Geoff Brumfiel,WashingtonIt is now ten weeks since US and Frenchpresidents George Bush and JacquesChirac last spoke on the telephone. Butas a deep freeze descends on relationsbetween the two former allies, France’sscience minister, fearless formerastronaut Claudie Haigneré, venturedinto Washington last week to discussscientific ties with her US counterparts.France and the United States are splitover the war in Iraq, but Haigneré said on3 April: “In research and development, weshare common objectives.” In a two-daytrip, she met with top officials from theNational Science Foundation, NASA andthe Department of Energy, and met JohnMarburger, President Bush’s scienceadviser, and some members of Congress.“There was a desire to have aconstructive dialogue,” Haigneré said ofher visit, in which topics discussed rangedfrom exchange schemes for researchers tointernational collaboration.Haigneré met with NASAadministrator Sean O’Keefe anddiscussed the future of the InternationalSpace Station. She was told that he hopesthat shuttle flights will be resumed by the end of the year. Issues raised atHaigneré’s Department of Energymeeting included collaboration onresearch into alternative energy sourcesand the construction prospects of ITER,the international magnetic-fusionexperiment, which the United States plansto rejoin (see Nature421,563; 2003).
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