Eighty-five-year-old President Tito of Yugoslavia began a two-day visit to France on Wednesday (12 October) by saying his talks with French leaders could help to "build better relations in the world".
Eighty-five-year-old President Tito of Yugoslavia began a two-day visit to France on Wednesday (12 October) by saying his talks with French leaders could help to "build better relations in the world". French officials said his discussions with President Valery Giscard d'Estaing would centre on detente, East-West relations and disarmament.
SYNOPSIS: In an arrival speech President Tito said that he said that he and the French leader shared views on many international issues and the means for solving them. He expressed Yugoslavia's concern over the "unbridled arms race" and the slow progress in East-West detente.
Government sources made it clear they attached great importance to the visit of the Yugoslav president. He was greeted with similar ceremony to that accorded Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev when he visited France last June. He laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe following a 21-gun salute fired when he stepped onto French soil.
Reuters News Agency said diplomatic observers attributed the warmth of his welcome to a demonstration of French approval at the role President Tito has played in maintaining Yugoslavia's independence. On Wednesday President Giscard became the first Western leader to be briefed by the Yugoslav president on his recent trip to the Soviet Union, North Korea and China.
The two leaders were also expected to discuss economic issues. Yugoslavia is hoping to adjust its balance of trade deficit which was running more than a hundred million dollars in favour of France in the first half of 1977.