French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing flew into the Ivory Coast on Wednesday (11 January) to begin a five-day state visit.
French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing flew into the Ivory Coast on Wednesday (11 January) to begin a five-day state visit. It is one of the longest visits ever made by a French President to a foreign country, and is seen by observers as a sign of the significance he attaches to the African continent and to links between France and its former colonies.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of people turned up at Abidjan airport to greet the French President. Local officials had decided to make all public transport free for the day. Dancers in traditional costumes were there to see the President arriving in a Concorde, the Anglo-French supersonic aircraft.
Tribal chiefs stood by as the jetliner touched down. Then, as the plane came to a halt, the President of the Ivory Coast, Mr. Felix Houphouet-Biogny, was on his way to greet the French leader.
As he stepped from the Concorde, Giscard was given a lively and colourful welcome. Not long after he arrived, he paid warm tribute to the Ivory Coast's economic achievements. He said the country was a showcase for the whole of Africa -- and described President Houphouet-Boigny as a "world statesman who had put his mark on our times through peaceful policies."
President Giscard described relations between the two countries as exemplary.