Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Emperor's Wife Wears No Clothes - How to Improve the International Standards of Public Officials

Nude Photos Stir Up Sarkozys' UK Visit


Posted: 2008-03-26 09:25:38

LONDON, England (March 26) -- French president Nicolas Sarkozy has started his first official visit to the UK -- the day after it was reported that an auction house is to sell nude pictures of his new wife.

Sarkozy and his wife, the former supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, were greeted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall after the presidential plane landed at London's Heathrow airport Wednesday morning.

He was then escorted to Windsor, where he was formally received by the Queen and the Prince of Edinburgh before being taken by carriage through the town.

The French president will enjoy a full state banquet at Windsor Castle Wednesday night, where he will stay as the guest of the Queen. On Wednesday afternoon Sarkozy will address both House of Parliament in French.But his wife Bruni-Sarkozy is likely to attract as much, if not more, attention than her husband during the two-day visit, during which she is expected to meet the UK royals and attend a lunch held in her honor by Sarah Brown, wife of the UK prime minister.Auction house Christie's is to sell photographs of former model Bruni-Sarkozy, taken by Michel Comte in 1993, in New York next month, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The agency quoted the French president's office as saying the sale is a private matter.The UK media has covered the president's courtship of Bruni-Sarkozy and subsequent marriage in depth, with several using her visit as reason to reprint images from her modeling career.Many observers in France see the presidential trip as a bid by Sarkozy to regain some of the popularity that saw him elected last May. Watch why Sarkozy is slipping in approval ratings at home. »Since then he has provoked controversy at home with his high-profile relationship with Bruni-Sarkozy, as well as his attempts to shake up French pension and labor laws.On Tuesday Sarkozy hinted that he might boycott the opening ceremony on the Beijing Olympics this summer, agencies reported, following pressure at home to take a tough line on the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

Closer co-operation on Afghanistan, the credit crunch, immigration and nuclear power are all expected to dominate talks between Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.In an interview with BBC Radio ahead of the visit, Sarkozy said that the UK and France needed to shift from "being cordial to being friendly", the UK's Press Association reported, adding that he wanted the relationship to be "fleshed out by concrete projects on the economy, immigration, security, defense."

"It has been long enough now that we have not been at war, that we are not wrangling," Sarkozy is reported to have said.On Thursday Sarkozy is expected to have talks with UK prime minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street, followed by a UK-France summit at the Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal Football Club, which boasts a French manager and high percentage of French playing staff.He will then present record-breaking yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur with top French award the Legion d'Honneur at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

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