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Ebola + apes - news French minister breaks diplomatic ice...

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news NATURE | VOL 422 | 10 APRIL 2003 | www.nature.com/nature 551 Geoff Brumfiel,Washington It is now ten weeks since US and French presidents George Bush and Jacques Chirac last spoke on the telephone. But as a deep freeze descends on relations between the two former allies, France’s science minister, fearless former astronaut Claudie Haigneré, ventured into Washington last week to discuss scientific ties with her US counterparts. France and the United States are split over the war in Iraq, but Haigneré said on 3 April: “In research and development, we share common objectives.” In a two-day trip, she met with top officials from the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Energy, and met John Marburger, President Bush’s science adviser, and some members of Congress. “There was a desire to have a constructive dialogue,” Haigneré said of her visit, in which topics discussed ranged from exchange schemes for researchers to international collaboration. Haigneré met with NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe and discussed the future of the International Space Station. She was told that he hopes that shuttle flights will be resumed by the end of the year. Issues raised at Haigneré’s Department of Energy meeting included collaboration on research into alternative energy sources and the construction prospects of ITER, the international magnetic-fusion experiment, which the United States plans to rejoin (see Nature 421, 563; 2003).
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