Sarkozy, Obama hold first conversation since inauguration


Paris : US President Barack Obama called his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy Monday night to discuss a variety of topics including the Middle East, the world financial crisis, Afghanistan, and NATO, Sarkozy’s office announced.

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The French leader’s office said that the call was “warm” and it lasted 30 minutes during which there were “substantial exchanges” on major international issues.

On the Middle East, Obama welcomed the “determined action” of Sarkozy during the Gaza crisis and he announced that the newly-appointed US Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, would stop off in Paris on his way to the region.

The US President and his French counterpart also discussed Afghanistan and Sarkozy welcomed the willingness of Obama “to define with his allies a new global strategy” for that country, a strategy of military, economic, and political approach.

Sarkozy said “France would continue to show solidarity with its allies” in Afghanistan, where there are 3,000 French troops.

On the global economic crisis, the two men agreed this was a “priority subject” and they were in agreement on the need to act in a resolute manner and to work closely together in the perspective of the upcoming April Summit of G20 nations in London.

The forthcoming NATO summit being hosted on the Franco-German border in early April was also discussed and both leaders agreed to make it a large success for the transatlantic alliance.

Sarkozy also welcomed Obama’s “courageous measures” to close Guantanamo and he said that Europe and France were available to help implement this decision.