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Sarkozy: France to Rejoin NATO Command Structure After 40-Year Hiatus

By VOA News
17 June 2008

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says France will rejoin the NATO military command after a four-decade absence. But he says his country's nuclear arsenal will remain under tight national control.

Mr. Sarkozy confirmed the NATO move Tuesday in Paris. He told senior military officers the decision is in large part a response to the threat of terrorism in France and the rest of Europe. Mr. Sarkozy did not offer a NATO re-entry date, but analysts say the move will likely take place next year.

The French leader also announced a major overhaul of the French military. He said plans call for a smaller armed forces and stronger intelligence-gathering capabilities. He said the new emphasis is aimed at boosting the use of satellites and other technologies.

France is currently a member of the 26-nation alliance, but is not a part of NATO's integrated command structure.

Former President Charles de Gaulle pulled France from the NATO command in 1966, in protest to what he called U.S. dominance in the alliance.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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