November 7th, 2007
02:29 PM ET
15 years ago

French president pledges a renewed alliance with United States

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.

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soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Karen,ny

    Trust them if you want,but they will slap you on the back with one hand and pick your pocket with the other.

    November 7, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. t

    Subject: Stating the Facts

    Yes, we're an imperfect country...and some of the media delights in that, pointing it out to us repeatedly. But here's a pleasant reading about America and our unselfish motives around the world. Enjoy.
    When in England at a large conference, Colin Powell was asked By the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building' by George Bush.

    He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return." It became very quiet in the room.

    Then there was a conference in France where numbers of international engineers were taking part, including French and & NBSP; American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?"

    A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: "Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency & NBSP; electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?" Once again, dead silence.

    A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

    Everyone was chatting away English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, 'where as Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'

    Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe it’s because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German’ You could have heard a pin drop!

    November 7, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Just because you like "the US" doesn't mean we accept you. I highly think you are part of the Bush family anyhow. And what kind of French name is Sarkozy? Are you sure you're not a Russian or Kaiser?

    November 7, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Chris, Pensacola FL

    And don't you bloody touch Iran. If they have done nothing wrong, don't make up things to kill and break the 10 commandments.

    November 7, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. John Mitchell, Austin, TX

    Ray of Rochester:
    You must be amongst 51% ignorants who brought Bush back in 2004. You were the same breed who renamed French Fries. Whether its Chirac or Sarkozy or anyone else, all hated Iraq war and were wise people who saved billions of their taxpayers money and thousands of French lives by not joining US on Iraq. Go, and eat french fries!!!!

    November 7, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. joseph, austin,tx

    Didelot Marseille, France

    you must be a victim dependant on gubment. what is the 30 hour work week to much for you to handle?

    November 7, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    To Chris of Pensacola:

    FYI, Sarkozy is Hungarian. Also, although I consider myself a liberal, I kind of like Sarkozy. He doesn't seem conservative. I don't think French conservatives are like the American conservatives (you know, self righteous, indignant hypocrite American conservatives).

    I am glad Sarkozy is not aligning himself with those who supported war with Iraq. This tells me that the French President wants our comradery but is not willing to kiss American conservatives' behinds to get it. He, like most liberal Americans, probably believes that our agression should be towards the terrorists in Afghanistan and not the innocent in Iraq. I have great admiration for that line of thinking. That's dignifying and it makes me believe that Sarkozy is really a liberal. He's all good in my book.

    November 7, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. JB Boston MA

    Is anyone going to give props to Bush? Unfortunately, you have to! This is his doing, and it is a great thing for the US. Period, no ifs ands or buts. This is good for us. A US/France alignment on foreign policy will make our policies much more effective. Any crazy "progressives" want to challenge that?

    November 7, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Christian, Tampa FL

    Sarkozy's speech was very moving to me, primarily because it seems that it's been so long since a world leader expressed praise for America's character as a nation.

    I grew up overseas in the 90's, when America's international image was a lot more positive. I sincerely hope that, in the years ahead, we can mend all of our frayed relationships, especially with Turkey, where I lived for six years.

    I pray that the next President will be able to renew all of the friendships we've had with other countries, and I am glad that Sarkozy has the intent to bolster a strong relationship between France and America.

    November 7, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Peter, Wausau, WI

    Personally, I strongly trust French President Sarkozy... remember a few years ago, when those kids in France were rebelling, burning cars, that sort of thing, until the government stopped them? Sarkozy was the French Minister of the Interior at the time... he was the one that coordinated that heroic effort to restore law and order to his country!

    In short: Thank you for your support in dealing with Iran, President Sarkozy!

    November 7, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    Conservatives always look back and wish for the past. That is why they never see the future, hence the Iraq war. Always talk about lifting yourself up by the boot straps. But what if you don't have any boots.

    Anyway, next time your kid does NOT get food poisoning, thank a liberal for having put guidelines for food safety (7 years of Bush and more and more food poisoning stories every year, so keep on BS yourselves conservatives).

    Next time your kid is not born with autism, thank a liberal for puting up guidelines on a big polluting company, and not allowing it to dump mercury in our water (7 years of Bush, guess what conservatives, you've been drinking a lot more mercury, so keep voting Rapeublican).

    Nex time your kid does not have asthma, thank that liberal for putting up those anti-polluting regullations.

    Next time your kid does not have to work 14 jours a day 6 days a week, thank that liberal for putting up child labor laws into place.

    Next time you look at your paycheck, look at the overtime pay, holidad pay, and vacation pay and thank a liberal for giving you a workers bill of rights (which the rapebulicans want to get rid of now, so keep voting conservative you poor soul, may God have mercy on it, because censervatives NEVER EVER WILL)

    November 7, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Josh, Provo Utah

    Ok Look, I lived in France for the last two years and I can tell yuo that Sarkozy is a terrific president and it would do us good to start trusting the French. This situation concerns every aspect of this election as foreign relations haven't been this bad in years. I hope that our country sees the importance of trusting France and the good people that they really are.

    November 7, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Erwin, Signal, Wyoming

    Bluntly stated, I lived in Europe for the past 10 years and have been watching it get more and more conservative.

    Of course any fool knows the same thing is happening in Anglo-America as well.

    Of course there is faltering occasionally to the left but the fact Europe and America are going to become conservative to a degree not imagined possible is inevitable.

    It's natural instinct, an unalterable response to very real threats to these people's existence.

    What misleads people is the liberal media and liberal poticians.

    Don't let them mislead you. Be conservative and live for conservativatism's humble values.

    If the liberal western countries' leadership on the left doesn't allow it's citizens to pull back the reigns on the ever increasingly repugnant liberal moral agenda as these citizens so clearly want to; then what is guarenteed to happen is the citizens of the west will mass riot. The last time we had a mass riot in the west it was called World War II.

    Smite liberals (haha, that's redundant).

    November 7, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Does anyone out there know how much money the frogs still owe this country from World War 2 ? I know that the Brits finished paying off their war loans about a year ago or so. I would not be surprised to find out that the 'surrender specialists' still have not paid us back after 60 years. I think we should just tell them to go pound sand.

    November 8, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. B, Cleveland, OH

    "...our agression should be towards the terrorists in Afghanistan and not the innocent in Iraq..."

    What the hell are you talking about? The war may be a lot of things, but our military is NOT targeting innocents. Typical left-wing nonsense.

    November 8, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. RightyTighty

    Just look at Nancy groveling to Frency. Who would of guessed that the Harry and Nancy show would become little more than a flee circus on the back of Bush's new poodle..

    Ha Ha!!

    November 8, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Dindon, USA

    Best sign from France in awhile. I hope Mr. Sarkozy means what he say's, and more importantly, does what he say's.

    November 8, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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