18 Mar 2009

French govt wins vote in parliament on NATO

8:13 pm on 18 March 2009

France has cleared the way for rejoining NATO's military command for the first time in more than 40 years.

Parliament has backed the decision by President Nicolas Sarkozy to take France fully back into the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance.

Mr Sarkozy has argued that France - as a founding member of NATO - should have more influence.

Critics of the move say it will weaken French independence from the United States.

But French Prime Minister Francois Fillon says Paris will never be subservient to Washington.

The government won the vote of confidence by 329 to 238 votes.