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Obama hails France's return to NATO command

Latest update : 2009-03-21

US President Barack Obama said he "enthusiastically" welcomed France's return to the NATO command structure. French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO's command in 1966, fearing loss of the country's independence.

AFP - US President Barack Obama on Saturday said he "enthusiastically" welcomed France back into NATO's military command, which Paris left 43 years ago.
  
"I enthusiastically welcome the decision made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to fully reintegrate France into the NATO Alliance," Obama said in a statement.
  
Obama added that "Sarkozy's leadership has been essential and is much appreciated. France is a founding member of NATO and has been a strong contributor to NATO missions throughout the Alliance's history.
  
So "France's full participation in the NATO military command structure will further contribute to a stronger Alliance and a stronger Europe," Obama added.
  
"I also welcome the further strengthening of European defense capabilities," Obama said.
  
"During my upcoming visit to France and Germany for the 60th Anniversary NATO Summit, I look forward to discussing ways to ensure that our strengthened Alliance, with France as a full participant in all its structures, will be as important in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century."

Date created : 2009-03-21

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