French President, valery Giscard d'Estaing arrived in Madrid, the Spanish Capital, on Wednesday (28 June) on a four-day official visit.
French President, valery Giscard d'Estaing arrived in Madrid, the Spanish Capital, on Wednesday (28 June) on a four-day official visit. Strict security measures have been taken to protect him during his stay, which is the first visit by a French head of state since 1906.
SYNOPSIS: President Giscard d'Estaing and his wife were met at Madrid airport by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. During his visit, the French President is expected to have talks with the Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez, on Spain's application to join the European Common Market (EEC). In recent interviews published in Spanish newspapers, the President has said that he fully supports Spain's entry into the EEC but that there were problems concerned with agricultural policy which would have to be solved first. French fruit and wine growers are particularly worried about competition from Spanish farmers.
France is Spain's largest trading partner, but the French government is concerned about the 300 million dollar trade deficit with Spain last year. President Giscard d'Estaing is also expected to discuss French foreign policy with the Spanish leaders and in particular the situation in the Western Sahara. Polisario guerrilla forces have been waging a war for independence since Spain ceded its former colony to Mauritania and Morocco tow years ago. The rebels are backed by the Algerian government which also supports the Canary Islands Liberation Movement (MAPIAC) fighting for independence from Spain.
France has been actively involved in Africa, sending troops into Chad and most recently, Zaire, to counter rebellions. The talks between the French President and the Spanish government could mark the beginning of closer co-operation on African policies.