Sarkozy reaches out to Jews, Israel

Nicolas Sarkozy said he would shun world leaders who do not recognize the State of Israel.

“I won’t shake hands with people who refuse to recognize Israel,” the French president told Jewish leaders in Paris on Wednesday.

Fulfilling the promise that he made almost a year ago, Sarkozy inaugurated an era of renewed warmth between the French government and the Paris Jewish community, when he became the first French president to speak at the annual CRIF Jewish organization dinner.

Addressing a crowd of over a 1000 Jewish leaders and politicians from the political right and left, Sarkozy vowed to combat anti-Semitism, and predicted 2008 would be crucial for the newly reconciled relationship between France and Israel.

Among his goals for this year, Sarkozy insists that a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is “absolutely possible,” and that France’s upcoming position as leader of the European Union means, “Israel can count on a new dynamic to its relationship with the EU.”

Sarkozy, whose election as French president last year significantly warmed ties between Paris and Jerusalem, called for U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran to be stepped up until it abandons its nuclear program.

 

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