Sarkozy arrives in US for Obama meeting

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived Monday in the US capital for talks with counterpart Barack Obama at the White House, and a previously unannounced New York trip to meet the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

The presidential jet touched down at 11:05 (1605 GMT) at Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, and he and Obama were set to discuss global issues including plans for France's new presidency of the Group of 20 rich and emerging economies, as well as Islamist extremism.

The one-day visit by the French leader comes as France embarks on its year at the presidency of the G20, as well as the Group of Eight (G8) powers, during which Sarkozy wants to reform currency and commodity markets and world governance.

It is Sarkozy's first meeting with Obama since the leaking of sensitive US diplomatic cables by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, which contained some embarrassing revelations for world leaders.

Sarkozy, accompanied on the trip by his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and his ministers of foreign affairs and finance, was also due to travel to New York to meet Saudi King Abdullah and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a French official said.

© 2011 AFP

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