Sarkozy trip to seal revival of French-US ties

2nd November 2007, Comments 0 comments

2 November 2007, PARIS (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy heads to Washington on Tuesday for a trip during which France and the United States aim to put their rift over the Iraq war definitively behind them, his spokesman said.

2 November 2007

PARIS (AFP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy heads to Washington on Tuesday for a trip during which France and the United States aim to put their rift over the Iraq war definitively behind them, his spokesman said.

"The aim of this trip is to seal the renewal of ties between France and the United States following the crisis of 2003 and to send a message to the American people through the president's speech to Congress," David Martinon told reporters.

Relations between Paris and Washington deteriorated sharply under Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac who spearheaded global opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq.

During the two-day visit, his first official trip to Washington since being elected in May, Sarkozy is to hold talks with US President George W. Bush as well as deliver a speech to the US Congress.

The two leaders will dine at the White House, followed by a visit to Mount Vernon, the home of the first US president George Washington.

Bush and Sarkozy met on the sidelines of a G8 summit in Germany in June, and again in August in the casual setting of the oceanside Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

At the time, Sarkozy's wife Cecilia -- who he divorced last month -- begged off from the luncheon citing a throat ailment.

Bush aides privately expressed skepticism at her explanation -- she was photographed the next day out shopping with friends -- but have expressed fondness for Sarkozy, who openly positions himself as pro-American.

The White House has declined to comment on Sarkozy's divorce, calling it a "private matter".

But Sarkozy caused a sensation by walking out of an interview with top US television news magazine "60 Minutes", conducted weeks before his divorce was announced, when asked about Cecilia's whereabouts.

AFP

Subject: French news

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