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Sarkozy on Obama: 'We share many views'

Latest update : 2008-07-26

During a joint press conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US presidential hopeful Barack Obama expressed mutual admiration and presented shared views on issues like Iran, the Middle East, the environment, and Darfur.

Watch our Top Story: 'Obama in Europe - a shared destiny?'


French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his would-be American colleague Barack Obama patted each other on the shoulder, clasped arms, cracked jokes.  At a joint press conference, the two politicians gave every evidence of complicity and mutual admiration.  Sarkozy referred to the Illinois Senator as “Barack,” warmly introducing him by saying, "Obama's adventures ring true in our hearts and minds… We agreed on a great many things,"


Though Sarkozy did not go so far as to officially endorse Obama’s candidacy, he did make his feelings clear, saying,  "I'm especially happy to be meeting with the Senator I met in 2006, when we were talking about things like Darfur.  There were two of us in that office, one of whom became president. Let the other do likewise."


FRANCE 24's International Politics analyst Armen Georgian remarked, "You could see from their body language that they were very relaxed. There were quite a few wisecracks. Perhaps Obamamania has rubbed off on Sarkozy."


Taking his turn to make opening remarks, Obama recalled Sarkozy's first official visit to the US, at which time Sarkozy was not yet the French President.  At the time, the only two senators Sarkozy met were Obama and John McCain. Obama said,  "If you want to know something about elections, talk to the President of France. He has a good nose for how things play out," eliciting laughter from the press corps.


Obama went on to call Sarkozy a "great leader" and said of the latter's recent US visit, "He was treated like a rock star. (...) I think it was then that people decided to call French Fries 'French Fries' again."


They discussed common security challenges, including peace in the Middle East, plans for Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, and disarming Iran.


On Iran, Obama said, "Iran should accept the proposals that Sarkozy and the EU is presenting now: don't wait for the next president."


Obama thanked Sarkozy and the French people for their willingness to step up troop support in Afghanistan. Georgian remarked that France's involvement in Afghanistan is a key stepping stone in Obama's hopes for the region. "This is a sign of commitment that Obama really needs because he's trying to push NATO allies to do more," he said, "and Sarkozy has already shown a willingness."


Sarkozy prioritised climate change, about which Obama returned, "Should I end up being the next president of the US, this is also going to be one of my highest priorities."


When asked why his Paris trip was so brief, Obama said, "The speech I gave in Germany was hopefully speaking to a broad European audience," he said. "I don't know anyone  who doesn't want to spend more time in Paris?" he joked.  He continued to explain that it was frown upon for a US presidential candidate to be absent from the US for more than a week.


Obama said he admired Sarkozy's "energy," adding "I want to find out how he eats."  He declared that Sarkozy possessed precisely the kind of energy needed for a world leader.



Date created : 2008-07-25