The U.S. should take advantage of France’s business and diplomatic connections to the Middle East, Jonathan Mann, a CNN roving correspondent, formerly of the Paris bureau, said at a seminar held Wednesday, April 12, at the Southern Center for International Studies (SCIS) in Atlanta on the upcoming French elections.

The U.S. government “has to work a lot closer with France in Iran and Iraq…and in Africa,” he said.  “They have friends where we do not.”

He also described the tension between the two countries on the issue of television programming.  France and Belgium have both blocked Turner International cartoons from entering their television markets.

According to Mr. Mann, the tightening of restrictions on non-European t.v. and film material is an important issue in the upcoming election, which has its first round on April 23.