Czech PM welcomes consultations with EU

European Union leaders on Tuesday met for foreign policy consultations with 13 future members in an effort to diffuse tension sparked by French President Jacques Chirac's verbal attack on the EU candidates on Monday. Mr. Chirac evoked outrage across eastern Europe, when he slammed candidate countries for their stand on the Iraqi crisis, calling them "childish and irresponsible" and telling them they would have done better to "shut up". The hastily convened foreign policy consultations in Brussels produced a common statement calling for a peaceful resolution of the Iraqi crisis but warning Bagdad to disarm or face war as a last resort. In the document current and future EU members promise to "avoid new dividing lines" and vow "joint endeavours" to meet their common goals. The Czech Prime Minister told reporters he welcomed the gesture and stressed the need for present and future EU members to hold foreign policy consultations on important issues.