Obama, Sarkozy Honor U.S.-French Alliance

CANNES, France — Before leaving Cannes, President Obama made one last ceremonial stop to celebrate the U.S.-French alliance and salute the French and American troops who served in the NATO-led campaign in Libya.

In a ceremony at Cannes City Hall with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, or as Obama called him “my partner, mon ami,” the president thanked the French for their hospitality during the G-20 summit and noted “we stand here today as free and democratic people because of each other.”

“It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom. It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal. We are societies where our diversity is considered a strength; where you can become President even if your name is Obama or Sarkozy,” Obama joked.

As members of the military from both countries looked on in the rain, Obama noted how French and American troops have served side-by-side from the trenches of the First World War to the war in Afghanistan and, most recently, in the skies over Libya.

“Every man and woman in uniform who participated in this effort can know that you have accomplished every objective. You saved the lives of countless Libyan men, women and children. And today, the Libyan people have liberated their country and begun to forge their own future, and the world has once again seen that the longing for freedom and dignity is universal,” Obama said.

“President Sarkozy, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Armed Forces of France and the United States, for more than two centuries we have stood together in friendship, and because of our unwavering commitment to the cause of liberty, I’m confident that we’ll continue to stand together, strong and free, for all the centuries to come. So vive la France. God bless America. And long live the alliance between our two great nations,” the president concluded.