Sarkozy cancels Russia visit due to eurozone crisis
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled a trip to Russia to mark the anniversary of victory in World War II to focus on the financial crisis engulfing Europe, officials said Saturday.
"Taking into account the financial crisis across the eurozone, the president must stay Sunday on French soil to have discussions and will not go to Moscow," a spokesman for the French embassy in Moscow told AFP.
"As a result, the ambassador (Jean de Gliniasty) will represent France at the parade."
Sarkozy had been due to join other world leaders Sunday at a parade marking the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, with troops from four NATO states including France marching in Red Square for the first time.
The Elysee, the French president's officein Paris, confirmed that Sarkozy would remain in France for talks on the financial crisis "with various parties", without giving further details.
Separately, Italy's ANSA news agency reported that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was also going to cancel his trip to the Moscow parade to deal with the crisis.
There was no immediate confirmation from Italian officials.
Berlusconi told fellow European leaders on Friday that the eurozone is in a "state of emergency", following an extraordinary summit to sign off a multi-billion bailout package for debt-hit Greece.
© 2010 AFP