Sarko to Obama: Je T'aime

We'll get the official translation in a bit, but the read-out of what President Sarkozy said at his joint press-availability with President Obama was positively gushing.

Mr. Sarkozy, according to the initial and unofficial translation, was effusive in his praise for Mr. Obama and his "open-mindedness," saying Mr. Obama "wants to build a new world," and that at the G-20 economic conference the U.S. President "shouldered the burden."

This endorsement extended to specific issues as well.

President Sarkozy said, "we totally endorse and support the Obama administration's new strategy on Afghanistan," Sarko said. Referring to 9/11, the diminutive French leader said the terrorist attack "wasn't just an attack on New York, it was an attack on democracy. So we're in the fight in Afghanistan."

On Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, and Mideast peace there was "a convergence of views," said the charismatic Frenchman.

Asked about President Obama committing to shut down the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay, President Sarkozy said, "it's incumbent upon heads of state to speak the truth. Guantanamo didn't live up to the values of the U.S."

Sarko said France "may need to take one prisoner," an apparent reference to one of two Algerian nationals — Lakhdar Boumediene and Saber Lahmar -- who have been held at Guantanamo Bay for the past seven years but last November were cleared for release by a US judge.

"If we are consistent we take that prisoner," said Sarkozy. "In France, our word is  our bond."

When Mr. Obama faced a French journalist's question suggesting he may not value a strong Europe, President Sarkozy brought up his pending June visit to Normandy with President Obama. "we will never forget what American democracy has done for us," Sarkozy said. "I trust him," he said of Obama. "President Obama's America doesn’t want weak allies, it wants strong allies."

"I feel very good to be with President Obama," Sarkozy said. "It's a hell of a piece of good news for 2009."

Again -- this is not the official translation. I will update with the official one when we get it. (My high school French teacher Monsieur Outler would be disappointed. Je suis désolé, monsieur!!)

-- jpt

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