Sarko Moves to Defuse Haiti Row With US 'Occupiers'
French miffed over aid bumping
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2010 2:00 AM CST
French firefighters ride back to their base after a day of search and rescue work in Port-au-Prince.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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(Newser) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy moved to calm a transatlantic spat yesterday by praising America's role in the Haiti aid effort and pledging to unite French and American relief efforts. Some French officials had accused the US of sidelining the French effort, including a minister who angrily accused the US of "occupying Haiti" after a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned back from the airport, the Telegraph reports.

A statement from Sarkozy's offices praised America's "exceptional mobilization" and said Paris was "entirely satisfied" with the cooperation it had received from Washington. There has been a huge outpouring of public support for Haitian relief in France, but there have been grumblings of discontent from some quarters about the nation being relegated to a secondary role in a country it once regarded as part of its sphere of influence, the BBC notes.