French President Jacques Chirac echoed earlier comments by his foreign minister on the US attack on Iraq, regretting Washington’s decision to proceed without UN backing. However his focus was on humanitarian issues, and he said that the UN should take the lead in post-war reconstruction. ‘It [the UN] is the only legitimate framework to build peace in Iraq as elsewhere,’ Chirac said. ‘We hope these operations will be as rapid and cause as few casualties as possible,’ he said.