French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Tuesday, the first ever trip to Iraq by a French head of state. According to AFP, Sarkozy was welcomed by his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani and a guard of honour.
"The French president is in Iraq to praise its efforts," said a French official travelling with Sarkozy. "France supports its democracy, its progressing sovereignty, national reconciliation and rebuilding."
The French leader, who will also meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, is on a regional tour that will also take him to Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, where he is due later Tuesday. "It is the first visit to the country by a French president," the French embassy said.
The visit by the French delegation includes Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.