CARTAGENA, Colombia — French President Francois Mitterrand has used his first trip to South America to pledge France's firm backing for young democracies threatened by spiraling foreign debt.
Both in Brazil, where his weeklong tour began, and in Colombia, where it ended Sunday, Mitterrand hammered home his view that the fate of creditor and debtor nations was closely linked and that a solution was possible only by sharing the burden.
"France favors a political dialogue to solve the debt issue," a French official close to the presidency said, commenting on Mitterrand's talks with President Jose Sarney of Brazil and Colombian President Belisario Betancur.
"It has been saying that for some time now, and Mitterrand himself is known to seek drastic reforms to the world monetary system. What mattered is that he said this in Latin America."