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Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Sarkozy gets ready for French presidency

May 11, 2007

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— French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy got back to work Thursday after a controversial Mediterranean vacation, meeting with Jacques Chirac and backing calls for an international tribunal to probe the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister.

Sarkozy joined Chirac in leading a poignant ceremony in the capital's Luxembourg Gardens honoring victims of slavery.

The two then hosted the son of assassinated Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri in the presidential palace. Many expect France's relations with the Arab world to cool with the departure of Chirac, who was a close friend of Hariri and supporter of Lebanon, formerly a French protectorate.

But Hariri's son, Saad, said after the meeting that Sarkozy pledged to "continue the relations between Lebanon and France in the same manner as in the past with President Chirac."

France's Constitutional Council officially declared Sarkozy the winner Thursday; he takes office Wednesday.

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