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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Key excerpts: Sarkozy speech
Here are some key excerpts from the inauguration speech of France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, who succeeded Jacques Chirac at a handover ceremony in Paris.

The people have given me a mandate. I will carry it out. I will carry it out scrupulously, with the desire to be worthy of the trust that the French have placed in me.

I will defend the independence of France, I will defend the identity of France. I will ensure respect for state authority, and above all its impartiality.

There is a demand for change. Never have the risks of inertia been so great for France as they are now in this world in flux, where everyone across the world is trying to change quicker than the others, where any delay can be fatal.

I think about all the presidents of the Fifth Republic that preceded me. I think of General De Gaulle, who saved the Republic twice and who brought to France sovereignty, dignity and authority.

I think of Jacques Chirac, who during 12 years fought for peace and brought the universal values of France to the whole world. I think of the role he played in making everyone realise the real possibility of ecological disaster and of our own responsibilities for future generations.

I will fight for a Europe that protects because the European ideal is to protect the citizens of Europe.

I will fight for a Mediterranean Union. By turning its back on the Mediterranean, France has turned its back on its past, and on its future.

I will fight for the development of Africa because the destiny of Europe and that of Africa are indisputably linked.

I will make the defence of human rights and the struggle against global warming priorities of France's diplomatic action in the world.

The task will be difficult and it will take time.

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