The French president shook Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hand after addressing Congress Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged Wednesday a renewed alliance and friendship between his country and the United States, and promised to stand firm with Washington on the war in Afghanistan and against Iran's nuclear program.
In a speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Sarkozy - facing problems back home as he tries to implement his campaign promises on immigration and economic reforms - recalled the long history of friendship between the two countries.
"In times of difficulty, in times of hardship, America and France have always stood side by side, supported one another, helped one another, fought for each other's freedom," he said.
Lawmakers greeted Sarkozy's entrance into the chamber with a standing ovation and lengthy applause; evidence of the renewed hopes for Franco-American relations that were chilled in recent years under former President Jacques Chirac over differences of opinion on the Iraq war.
While he never mentioned Iraq, Sarkozy vowed to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States on the war in Afghanistan.
"Let me tell you solemnly today: France will remain engaged in Afghanistan as long as it takes, because what's at stake in that country is the future of our values and that of the Atlantic Alliance," he said. "For me, failure is not an option. Terrorism will not win because democracies are not weak, because we are not afraid of this barbarism. America can count on France."
Sarkozy also promised to help in the fight against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, citing Iran's nuclear program, in particular.
"Let me say it here before all of you: The prospect of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unacceptable," he said.
"The Iranian people is a great people. It deserves better than the increased sanctions and growing isolation to which its leaders condemn it. Iran must be convinced to choose cooperation, dialogue and openness. No one must doubt our determination."
But Sarkozy made it clear that while his government will work with Washington on many issues, the relationship will be on an equal footing.
"I want to be your friend, your ally and your partner. But a friend who stands on his own two feet. An independent ally. A free partner," he said.
The French president also addressed the situation in the Middle East, calling on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to "Risk peace! And do it now!"
"The status quo hides even greater dangers: that of delivering Palestinian society as a whole to the extremists that contest Israel's existence; that of playing into the hands of radical regimes that are
exploiting the deadlock in the conflict to destabilize the region; that of fueling the propaganda of terrorists who want to set Islam against the West," Sarkozy said. "France wants security for Israel and a state for the Palestinians."
He called on Washington to pay attention to the dollar's latest woes, to stand with Europe in the fight against global warming, and to take the lead in shaping reforms in the United Nations, the World Bank and the G8.
"Our globalized world must be organized for the 21st century, not for the last century. The emerging countries we need for global equilibrium must be given their rightful place," the French president said.
He closed his comments with a request: that the United States "trust Europe."
"In this unstable, dangerous world, the United States of America needs a strong, determined Europe."
Sarkozy said he sees a need in the future for Europe to "shoulder a growing share of their defense."
"All of our allies, beginning with the United States, with whom we most often share the same interests and the same adversaries, have a strategic interest in a Europe that can assert itself as a strong, credible security partner," he explained.
That's funny. I couldn't find his page on Facebook. I wanted to add him as a friend too . . .
TO: Joel, Oklahoma City
He got 53+% polls of more than 80% voters, everyone mobilized to go vote for or against him .. he definitely represents France. Not the France you usually hear of, but the one he referred to it as the "silent majority" during his campaign. Rarely as an election drawn so many people to polls.
Laura, conservatism promotes free thinking? That's rich.
That's like saying that Big Brother is a compassionate supporter of human rights.
Conservatism stands for the abridgement of individual rights, including the freedom of speech and expression. Dissent is not tolerated by conservatives, and you will be sent to a gulag...oops, I mean, a "foreign detention camp", and tortured if you so much as speak up against the dictators...I mean, "compassionate conservatives", in power.
lest see if two negatives make a positive
Finally, someone in France who has an actual ballsac
"In this unstable, dangerous world, the United States of America needs a strong, determined Europe to shoulder a growing share of their defense."
Funny that...., even France is beginning to understand Bush's steadfast commitment to our security. Oh well, guess Hillary will no longer need to send Bill forth to sale them a "softer, kinder, gentler America".
"Speak softly and carrie a big stick", seems to be still working just fine..
Just another Neo-con.
It is a great thing he did not mention Irak. It shows he was not there to have a provocative attitude. Because everyone know understands that the French were right when they opposed the war in Iraq 4 years ago.
M.D, what are you talking about? The French and Indian war (the Seven Year War to the rest of the world) pitted France against Britain, and we fought against France as citizens of the British crown then. France aided us during the Revolution War, don't you remember? We haven't made war against France (except for a few skirmishes) since the French and Indian war. More often, we've been allies. And, whether you know it or not, France was considered an elite military force until the 20th century. However, France took the brunt of World War I, so don't characterize them as cowards because of their behavior in World War II, since they lost a generation of men in the first one. They are a free nation, so they don't "condemn us for our freedom." That is a load of BS right out of George Bush's play book, and we are not talking about al Quaeda here, anyway.
I don't have any particular affection for France, but you talk a load of nonsense.
Remember after 9/11 when US investigators were in France trying to gather evidence on Zacharias Moussaoui, the twentieth hijacker, and the French were telling each other not to cooperate?
Some friends! Oh, and this was BEFORE we invaded Iraq! So much for the goodwill we were supposed to have immediately after 9/11!
Hopefully Sarkozy will be friendlier.
Thats so clever – the "O'Reilly O'Really" – what a card you must be – so funny....I think recess is over and Miss Flanders is calling the kids back in now....both Canada and France have seen the drawbacks of a socialized medicine program – and how important it is to root out terror – they just need to do alittle more research on the global warming issue...my guess is all the countries want to cut ties with the middle east...and let them eat one another up – because the science doesn't support CO2 caused global warming...(at all....cause and effect are in reverse)...I wish they would be honest and say "the best way to stick it to middle east is to stop are reliance on their oil by 2015....hydro is the cheapest – followed by Wind and geothermal...
A previous posting appears seriously incorrect on important historical events. 1.) The French were fighting against the English Crown in the French & Indian War, not the colonists. When the Crown had all but destroyed our Continental Army, twice the French came to our rescue in support of our freedom. No...I'm not a fan of european politics, but historical truths are often overlooked here. We virtually owe our freedom to the French and were re-paying a debt during WWII. However strained, international cooperation between our two countries is firmly rooted and endlessly intwined. I see nothing but good in this.
To Ivan Imanidiot in Chicago; Dude, soldiers in war commit atrocities, it's typically very, very few, it's regrettable, it's horrific, but it happens. And it happens whethter or not you're one of the good guys or the bad guys (the bad guys to us are the good guys to themselves).
You know what? I'll bet BILL O'Reilly has done research and has the facts to back up his statements. Can you say the same? Didn't think so.
Typical knee-jerk reactionary, and boycotting France and French products was the right thing to do at the time. They were trying to undermine us at every turn to protect their own financial interests in Iraq, regardless of consequences.
Why don't you try to inform yourself before spouting off such idiocy?
The French are whimps! They have paper soldiers.
Thank you Pres. Sarkozy for your verbal support of America engagements in the Middle East. Hmmm...let's see France has no troops in Iraq, and ~1000 trips in Afghanistan. Pres. Sarkozy it is time to step with some more physical troop support. Americans should be wary of French promises. France was prepared to send up to 15,000 troops to Iraq prior to the start of the Iraq War, but didn't do it supposedly due to Bush and Chirac couldn't agree on when the attack should occur. If Bush decides in the next 6 – 9 months to militarily engage in Iran, can we really count on the French to not leave us hanging?!
to MD in response of your post of 1;41pm.
let me tell you how wrong you are, The Indians war, could not beat the US army? you are kidding right? Where was France interest? To beat the English and see the american people building their own democracy, your ignorance is so visible. Thanks Lafayette and the French is the US exist and we do not have any problem to thank the US for the second world war. Even if we lost 1.2 million people in the first one that we won, and 850,000 people in the second one. Your lack of respect and knowledge inregards of your own and the French history is painful to see. Keep all your comments for yourself as they sound racist.
To fully understand Frency's move, you have to occasionally visit real news sights..
"Iran has achieved a landmark, with 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Wednesday."
Sarko did not steal the elections like W. He won, in a real democracy called France with 53% of people's real vote.
Posted By ronnie – knoxville, tn.: "He is deporting illegal aliens from France, something we should think about doing."
The United States deports more than 51 times the number of people annually than France does.
In 2005 France deported 20,000 illegal immigrants. In 2006 their efforts were stepped up to 25,000.
In 2005 the United States deported 1,291,142 people. 965,538 people voluntarily departed the United States in 2005 for their country of origin.
Do a little research next time you post.
Something to remember when considering Sarkozy's speech: The French and Iranian governments are seeking to normalize relationships and remove the oil purchase ban France put in place this last summer. This fact does not reflect well on the President's rhetoric about Iran's isolation and possible sanctions.
So much for John Kerry say HE would bring France closer to the U.S. Looks like that bumbling 'idiot' Bush, struck gold once again. Just how does he do it? With determination, rightness, and a will to buck the liberal 'poll driven' wafflers in a effert to to the right thing. Onward conservative America. God Bless you.
O'Reilly? his French Boycot was pure racism!! Like the French people knew anything about him in France or have heard about him?
Who do you think you are O'Reilly? God?
Thank God we have Sarkozy.
Sarkozy is the best President France has had in a long time. His views on immigration and economic reform is much more like the views of the conservatives in this country. Seeking to limit illegal immigration, making French the national language of france, fighting terroirim and free market economics... All very conservative stances. Sarkozy's consevative stances have proven to be very effective in the past. Unlike the socialilstic stances of Nancy Pelosi, which have failed in every country it has been tried. It seem a little strange that CNN would choose to show Nancy Pelosi shaking hands with this man.
Boycott the French! Boycott the French!!
French President Nicolas Sarkozy – called the "LITTLE BUSH" – throughout France/Europe is perhaps the only person in government of smaller physical stature, lower forehead (i.e. intelligence) and ignorance, to play on the fear of the French people in modern times.
Won a LANDSLIDE VICTORY in the French election? You must be drinking the CNN water...
Sarko has and is taking everything ugly and bad about America and attempting to bring it to a truly lovely and Great Country: FRANCE.
He will ultimately destroy France, if not stopped, just as Bush has done to the once Great America!
Too bad the Dems running for President along with toadies Pelosi, Reid, and Murtha don't have the stomach to take on terrorism, preferring to kow-tow too them and negotiate.
Obama should take a lesson from France's new direction and put on some pants. Obama is a wimp who has no idea what it will take to defend us from future threats.