Sarkozy in UK to mark historic de Gaulle war broadcast

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Charles de Gaulle during the Second World War
But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!
Charles de Gaulle broadcast

Nicolas Sarkozy visited the UK today to celebrate the 70th anniversary since Charles de Gaulle made his war broadcast. The French president and the Prince of Wales laid wreaths at the statue of Charles de Gaulle in London.

Earlier, Mr Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni visited the BBC radio studio where the famous broadcast was made on BBC France. The broadcast at the time was said to have been listened to by a very small number of listeners. Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a plaque and viewed a tapestry given to the BBC by France as a note of gratitude after World War II.

Nicolas Sarkozy and British PM David Cameron met with 200 veterans during a ceremony at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Nicolas Sarkozy awarded the Légion d'honneur to six World War II veterans, three of whom were British.

In a short speech, Mr Cameron said the anniversary was a "reminder that Britain and France are not just neighbours in the geographical sense but also in the emotional sense." Mr Cameron held an hour of talks with the French president at Downing Street primarily focusing on economics, Afghanistan, and other foreign policy matters. The visit is the first by a French president to mark Gen de Gaulle's broadcast on June 18, 1940. In the stirring radio appeal, Gen de Gaulle declared himself leader of the "Free French", spawning the French Resistance, which went on to play a crucial role in defeating the Germans.

Mr Sarkozy's last official visit to the UK was in March 2008, when he was also accompanied by his wife.


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