Thursday, April 19, 2012

France / Presidential: Sarkozy promises a complete withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan by 2013

PARIS, April 18 (Xinhua) - The outgoing French president and candidate for a second term, Nicolas Sarkozy, promised Wednesday that if re-elected, he would make to ensure the repatriation of all the French soldiers deployed in Afghanistan by the end of 2013.

"We repatriated 400 to 600 soldiers to Afghanistan and will continue," said President Sarkozy in an interview on BFM TV.

"And the return is complete, say at the end of 2013 because we will start a new collaboration with the Afghans," he promised.

"What I do not want is that we start with an unworthy manner, that we abandon our allies, our friends, the world's democracies (...) who are with us there," he said.

The French president made the remarks as NATO, whose foreign ministers and defense of the 28 member states met Wednesday and Thursday and in Brussels, plans to retire in good order the bulk of its military contingent of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The Socialist candidate for president, Francois Hollande, main rival Nicolas Sarkozy, reiterated Wednesday its commitment to accelerate the withdrawal of French forces from Afghanistan.

"I was clear enough," said Mr. Holland micro France Inter, and continued, "I said four years ago, it was in 2008, I considered that France n ' had more mission to accomplish in Afghanistan. "

Mr. Holland, who believes not see a solution in Afghanistan, had promised, on April 4, that if elected, he would confirm the next NATO summit in late May in Chicago (USA), his desire to withdraw the French troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2012.

It provides for a withdrawal "in good order, in the safety of our soldiers and in full consultation with our allies."

More than 80 French soldiers killed in Afghanistan since the start of the deployment of international force in the country in late 2011.