OXFORD - With one eye on domestic ratings and the other on international relations, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin sent a mixed message to the developers of plant biotech last week.

After almost eight months of deliberation, France has given the green light to import two corn varieties genetically modified with a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis. However, Jospin also announced that France would impose a two-year moratorium on approvals to grow other modified crops that may pose a risk of gene transfer to related species. Modified crops likely to be affected include oilseed rape and sugarbeet.