France's Sarkozy feels "deep joy" at new baby

Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:53pm EDT
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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday he and first lady Carla Bruni were overjoyed at the birth of their daughter and said their pleasure was all the more intense because it was private.

Sarkozy and his office had refused to discuss the Italian-born Bruni's pregnancy, despite high interest in what is the first baby born to a French presidential couple in office.

The coyness has appeared part of a deliberate effort by Sarkozy to repair an image many see as too brash and informal, due in part to his courting of show business stars.

Bruni, a former supermodel and singer, said in a brief message on her Web site that she had been touched by the numerous messages of congratulations since their daughter's birth and announced that they had chosen the name Giulia.

The French leader, on a trip to the northwestern town of Mayenne following two lightning visits to see his wife and new daughter, said both mother and child were doing well.

"We have been lucky to have a very happy event take place," Sarkozy said, as a local factory director gave him a baby oak tree as a present for the newborn.

"All of you who are parents can understand the very deep joy that Carla and I feel. Each one of you can also understand that it's an even deeper joy because it is private," he told reporters.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev both sent congratulations to Sarkozy and Bruni.

The presidential palace refused to confirm the birth, which French media said took place at around 1800 GMT on Wednesday while Sarkozy was in Frankfurt discussing the euro zone crisis. It said its policy was to not comment on private matters.   Continued...

<p>France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) receives an oak, as a gift after the birth of his daughter, during a visit at a recycling factory near Laval, western France, October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Remy de la Mauviniere/Pool</p>