French carrier Charles de Gaulle back for D-Day

24th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

TOULON, France, May 21 (AFP) - France's nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier returned to the country's southern port of Toulon Friday, ending a three-month mission in the Middle East and Indian Ocean region.

TOULON, France, May 21 (AFP) - France's nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier returned to the country's southern port of Toulon Friday, ending a three-month mission in the Middle East and Indian Ocean region.

The Charles de Gaulle - the largest fighting ship ever made in Europe, with a fleet of 40 warplanes - and accompanying ships left Toulon on March 1 on an 83-day mission, dubbed "Agapante 04", that included joint exercises with Indian and Saudi armed forces, said Vice Admiral Alain Dumontet, the head of the French naval action force.

The carrier's battle group had previously been mobilised in the anti-terrorist "Operation Enduring Freedom" launched after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. Its warplanes were used for fly-over surveillance missions in Afghanistan.

Accompanying the Charles de Gaulle were two frigates, the nuclear submarine Amethyste, an oil tanker for resupply and a British frigate, HMS Gloucester.

Eleven ships and a total of 4,500 people initially set out on the joint French-British mission in March. The French navy said at the mission's outset it was also planning to carry out exercises with US forces.

The same battle group is expected to leave Toulon again on May 26, first to participate in D-Day ceremonies in Normandy, then to the British port of Portsmouth from June 7 to 10. It will also make two stops on France's Atlantic coast, at Le Havre in Normandy and on Brittany's Ile de Sein, Dumontet said.


© AFP

Subject: French news

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