Ex-French President Chirac, who stood up to US, dies at 86

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FILE – In this Nov. 21, 2013 file photo, former French President Jacques Chirac and his wife Bernadette arrive to attend an award ceremony in Paris. France’s former President Jacques Chirac is supplanting U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in a street of the French town of Brive-la-Gaillarde in central France. (AP Photo/Jacky Naegelen, Pool, File)

PARIS (AP) – Jacques Chirac, a two-term French president who was the first leader to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust and defiantly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, has died at age 86.

His son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told The Associated Press that Chirac died Thursday “peacefully, among his loved ones.” He did not give a cause of death, though Chirac had had repeated health problems since leaving office in 2007.

Chirac was long the standard-bearer of France’s conservative right, and mayor of Paris for nearly two decades. He was nicknamed “Le Bulldozer” early in his career for his determination and ambition. As president from 1995-2007 he was a consummate global diplomat but failed to reform the economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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