France's Sarkozy to honour soldiers killed in Afghanistan
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy will attend a memorial on Friday for two French soldiers killed while fighting in Afghanistan, his office said in a statement.
Sarkozy will travel to Frejus on France's Mediterranean coast for the service to honour Captain Lorenzo Mezzasalma, 43, and Corporal Jean-Nicolas Paneszyck, 25, of the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment.
They were fatally wounded by small arms fire during an overnight operation south of Tagab, northeast of the capital Kabul, French officials said Monday.
Sarkozy faces mounting calls for France's 3,750 troops to begin withdrawing from a conflict that has cost 47 of them their lives and shows no sign of coming to an end.
But he said in a speech to ambassadors on Wednesday that French forces will remain in Afghanistan "for as long as necessary and for as long as the Afghan people wish."
Most French soldiers in Afghanistan are based in districts around Kabul in the east of the country, where they are part of a NATO-led multinational force fighting the Taliban.
© 2010 AFP