Chirac in tribute to Dien Bien Phu dead

7th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 7 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Friday took part in a ceremony to recall combattants who died 50 years ago in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, a defeat for France's army which was a turning point in the country's colonial heritage.

PARIS, May 7 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Friday took part in a ceremony to recall combattants who died 50 years ago in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, a defeat for France's army which was a turning point in the country's colonial heritage.

In a ceremony at the former military hospital of Les Invalides in Paris, Chirac hailed soldiers who had "turned a disaster into an epic" during the long-running siege in the north of what was then known as French Indochina.

"In the many pages of glory and trauma which figure in our history, Dien Bien Phu occupies a special place," Chirac said of the battle, which left almost 13,000 French troops dead or missing over 56 days in early 1954.

"Today the name of Dien Bien Phu has become the very symbol of military honour defended to the extreme limit of human force," said Chirac.

The French ceremony came on the same day that Vietnam was marking the anniversary with a ceremony at the battle site.

The Les Invalides monument has long been a symbol of French military endeavour, and notably houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte.

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

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