French president arrives in Sydney for official visit

Updated: 2014-11-18 13:58


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French president arrives in Sydney for official visit

French President Francois Hollande (R) walks with Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove during Hollande's visit to Admiralty House for an official lunch in Sydney, November 18, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SYDNEY -- French President Francois Hollande was welcomed to Sydney on Tuesday with 21-gun salute on the shores of Sydney Harbor.

After attending the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Hollande flew to New Caledonia on Monday before touching down in Sydney.

Hollande met with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on the harbor and planned talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra on Wednesday as part of the two-day visit.

Before making his way by boat to lunch at Admiralty House after the welcoming ceremony, Hollande inspected members of the Royal Australian Navy Guard and the Australian Army band.

A spokesman for the French president said the purpose of the visit to Australia was to "strengthen the historical links and economic relations" between France and Australia.

Hollande will deliver a key-note speech later in the day at the Business Council of Australia calling for stronger economic relations with Australia.

A large business delegation accompanied the French president as he was set to tour a joint French- Australian defense research facility.

France and Australia signed a Strategic Partnership agreement in 2012 as a sign of improving relations between the two nations. In 2012-13, bilateral trade stood at 5.4 billion Australian dollars ($4.7 billion).

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