Tuesday, 28 August 2007

“I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true”, Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France

In a welcome break with his predecessors, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his first major foreign policy speech, reiterated his friendship for Israel. In spite of his pro-US and pro-Israel stance, Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval ratings remain exceptionally high at over 70%. JTA reports:

“Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed his affection for Israel and hostility toward Hamas.

“I have the reputation of being a friend of Israel, and it's true. I will never compromise on Israel's security,” the French president said Monday in his first foreign-policy speech since taking office in May.

While he said France would continue to cultivate rich ties with the moderate Arab world, Sarkozy drew a line at engaging Hamas or allowing Iran to procure nuclear weaponry.

He described the Gaza Strip as “Hamastan” - a term seldom heard outside Israeli political circles - and said the Islamist Palestinian group must be curbed lest it take over the West Bank as well.

Sarkozy, who was speaking to French diplomats, further urged Iran to abandon its nuclear program or for effective international sanctions to be imposed on Tehran. Otherwise, he hinted, there could be military intervention.

“This tactic is the only one that allows us to escape from a catastrophic alternative: an Iranian bomb, or the bombing of Iran,” he said.”


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