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Home News Sarkozy to stay the course on Mideast policy

Sarkozy to stay the course on Mideast policy

Published on 17/04/2007

PARIS, April 17, 2007 (AFP) - French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday and pledged to ensure continuity in France's Middle East policy if elected.

“There will be continuity in this policy, which is a balanced policy,” Sarkozy, the candidate of the governing party, said following the 40-minute meeting in Paris.

“I told President Mubarak that if I am elected president of the Republic, I would like to have the same relationship of trust that he enjoyed with President Chirac,” said Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, the former interior minister, is slightly ahead of Socialist rival Segolene Royal in the polls for the first round of voting on Sunday and is expected to win a spot in the runoff on May 6.

While he is seen as a stronger supporter of Israel than President Jacques Chirac, who has been a longtime advocate of an independent state of Palestine, Sarkozy said he wanted “a relationship of trust” with Arab governments, if elected.

“I would guarantee the security of Israel but I also want a homeland for the Palestinians, a state for the Palestinians. I want independence for Lebanon and I want to have relations of trust with the various Arab governments,” he said.

Sarkozy praised Mubarak, describing him as a “man of great experience and of very great wisdom” and said it was “an honour” for him to “meet with one of the great Arab leaders”.

Egypt’s top-selling state-owned daily Al-Ahram had reported that Mubarak had planned to meet with Sarkozy, Royal and centrist Francois Bayrou who are the frontrunners in the election.

But in the end, Mubarak held one meeting with Sarkozy at the official guest residence for visiting heads of state.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news