The French President, Jacques Chirac, and the man due to take over from him at the Elysee palace, Nicolas Sarkozy, have marked the abolition of slavery at a ceremony in Paris. It is a day of commemoration introduced by the outgoing president last year.
Before the unveiling of a memorial in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Chirac warned that slavery is not a thing of the past. He said even now hundreds of thousands of children, young girls and whole families the world over are victims. The Senagalese singer Youssou N’Dour sang a song entitled “New Africa”.
Afterwards, President-elect Sarkozy met the head of the majority in Lebanon’s parliament, Saad Hariri. He assured the son of the assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik al-Hariri, that relations between France and Lebanon would continue in the same vein as under President Chirac.