France denies being behind false intelligence on Iraq nuclear claim
PARIS (AFP) Jul 14, 2003
France Monday denied being a source of intelligence on claims that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from the African state of Niger, as reported by the British newspaper the Financial Times.

"Contrary to the insinuations which appeared in the British press, France is not behind the intelligence published in the British dossier dated September 24, 2002 and relative to the nuclear program of Iraq," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Financial Times on Monday fingered both Italian and French intelligence services as being the likely sources of information that the regime of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger.

Italy has already denied being behind the intelligence.

The information -- which US intelligence has failed to corroborate -- was used to bolster US President George W. Bush's justification for going to war against Iraq, when he included it in his State of the Union speech in January.

Britain continues to stand by the intelligence.