Sarkozy calls for Anglo-French unity on first day of state visit

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nicholas Sarkozy in 2007.
Image: MEDEF.

On the first day of his state visit to the United Kingdom, French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave a speech praising the British nation and called for an "entente amicale" between Great Britain and France, in place of the existing, more formal entente cordiale agreement. Speaking, unusually, to both Houses of Parliament, Sarkozy went on to praise the help Britain gave to France during both World Wars and said that "France would never forget" and that it owed Britain a debt of gratitude.

Speaking in the Royal Gallery in the Houses of Parliament, the French president went on to say that Britain was a "bulwark against tyranny" and, addressing the issue of the long history of Anglo-French conflict, that Britain and France had been in conflict with each other, not because they were too different, but because they were "too alike".

As well as praising Great Britain, Sarkozy also promised to propose sending more French troops to Afghanistan at the Bucharest Summit, to be held later this year, although he did not specify the number of troops he was planning to send.

During his two-day state visit, Sarkozy will meet with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and they are expected to discuss many different issues, from global finance to Afghanistan.