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International

Sarkozy Cancels June Visit to Stockholm

Published fredag 29 maj 2009 kl 11.01
French President Nicolas Sarkozy greets Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at Mediterranean Summit, Paris

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cancelled his planned June 2nd visit to Stockholm - officially because of agenda reasons but observers insist it is to avoid a clash over a future Turkish membership in the European Union.

Observers maintain that the anti-Turkish president does not want to clash with Swedish political leaders just before the European parliamentary elections and before Sweden takes over the rotating EU presidency on July 1st for the last half of this year.

Both Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt have given public support to Turkish membership - and reject the French president's claim that Turkey is not part of Europe.

A French minister has told French newspapers that the reason for the cancellation was an interview given by Bildt to the newspaper Le Figaro - maintaining that Sweden has a strategic interest in Turkey's EU integration and warning against closing the door to Ankara.

He added that if Cyprus off the coast of Syria can be regarded as part of Europe, it is hard to consider that Turkey does not belong to Europe.

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