France vows close ties with new Nigerian leader

7th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote to his new Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan on Friday to promise continued close ties with the oil-exporting African giant.

Jonathan was sworn in on Thursday after President Umaru Yar'Adua finally succumbed to a long illness, leaving the 52-year-old former vice-president in sole charge of Africa's most populous nation.

Sarkozy said in his letter that France had built a "strategic partnership" with Nigeria during the late leader's visit to Paris in June 2008 and assured Jonathan that he would pursue ever closer ties.

"I hope that at our next meeting at the Franco-African summit in Nice we can consolidate relations with your country, which has a leading role on the African continent," Sarkozy wrote.

The French leader is to host a huge gathering of African heads of state in the southern French city of Nice for two days from May 31.

© 2010 AFP

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