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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 14:33 UK

Bush saying 'au revoir' in Paris

President George Bush is welcomed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy prior to a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
George W Bush is not popular with the French people

US President George W Bush and France's Nicolas Sarkozy have emphasised the strength of relations between the two countries after talks in Paris.

The pair discussed a range of issues including Iran's nuclear ambitions and co-operation over Afghanistan.

But correspondents say the mood of the meeting was dominated by the extent to which France and the US see eye-to-eye.

Mr Bush is in Paris on the latest leg of his European tour, expected to be his last before leaving office.

The visit is seen as a sign of further reconciliation between the US and France, after tensions over Iraq.

On Friday, Mr Bush spoke with affection of the deep historic link between France and the US.

On Sunday morning he will travel on to the UK, where he is expected to meet Queen Elizabeth II and hold talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Not popular with French

Since taking office a year ago, Mr Sarkozy has made great efforts to build relations with Washington, which went into deep-freeze under his predecessor Jacques Chirac.

Speaking at a joint news conference on Saturday, Mr Sarkozy said warm relations between the countries had endured for more than 200 years.

The BBC's Hugh Schofield, in Paris, says the two leaders have a genuinely friendly relationship but President Bush is certainly not a popular figure among the French.

However, the inevitable protests against his presence have been half-hearted, in acknowledgement that the president's time in the White House is running out, our correspondent adds.

Mr Bush arrived in Paris from Rome, where he had been afforded a special audience with Pope Benedict XVI.


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