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Sarkozy commemorates de Gaulle's famous war speech

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in London to mark the 70th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's World War II broadcast. The trip will also provide a chance to strengthen ties with Britain's new prime minister.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in London

Sarkozy's visit comes as Europe wrestles with a different set of challenges

French President Nicolas Sarkozy marked the 70th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle's wartime radio appeal to the French resistance on a trip to London on Friday .

Although very few French people actually heard the speech, de Gaulle's World War II address is considered by many to be a founding act of French resistance to the German occupation.

On June 18, 1940, exiled military leader de Gaulle transmitted an appeal to resistance fighters back home from the BBC studios in central London, the first of many during the war.

"Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not and will not be extinguished," de Gaulle said.

Poignant reminder

Charles de Gaulle

De Gaulle urged his country to resist German occupaton

Sarkozy is the first French president to travel to London to mark the event. British Prime Minister David Cameron called the event "poignant and an enormously important" reminder of the ties between the two countries.

World War II veterans and foreign dignitaries also attended the ceremonies, arriving on a special Eurostar train emblazoned with pictures of de Gaulle and other French wartime figures.

Sarkozy's visit is also seen as an opportunity for the French president to strengthen ties with Britain's newly elected prime minister.

Author: Sarah Harman (AFP/AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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