Lula, Sarkozy sign military deal in French Guiana


Brasilia : Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to a joint military production plan during a meeting in French Guiana.

Support TwoCircles

Sarkozy said France plans to build the submarine Scorpen, fighter-planes and helicopters in Brazil.

“There is no taboo. Brazil is a democratic power and a friend of France. We, the French, are transparent with friends, and the two countries are willing to work for world peace,” Sarkozy said in a joint press conference Tuesday with Lula in the town of Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock.

Sarkozy also thanked Lula for the efforts of the Brazilian government to secure the release of hostages held by Colombia’s leftist rebels, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

Sarkozy has made the release of Betancourt – who holds dual French-Colombian citizenship and was captured in 2002 – one of his top foreign policy priorities. Lula has offered to help mediate an end to the Colombian hostage crisis.

Lula thanked Sarkozy for France’s support of a UN Security Council reform plan that would see Brazil gain a permanent seat.

The two leaders discussed efforts to increase bilateral cooperation in the fields of military affairs, the environment, infrastructure, biofuels and cross-border interaction – including a bridge built by both governments to link the neighbouring Brazilian Amazonian state of Amapa to French Guiana, set to be opened in 2010.

Lula and Sarkozy also discussed illegal immigration from Brazil to French Guiana. Authorities estimate that the Brazilian community makes up 10-20 percent of the population in the territory, which has an estimated 200,000 people.

Lula arrived Tuesday at the town of Saint-Georges de l’Oyapock, on the border to Amapa, and spent less than five hours in French Guiana, including a lunch meeting with Sarkozy.