Guns boom to welcome French president Francois Hollande to Sydney

French President Francois Hollande has been welcomed to Sydney with an honour guard and 21-gun salute.


Mr Hollande became the first French head of state to visit Australia after attending the G20 Summit in Brisbane.

After the G20, Mr Hollande flew to New Caledonia for his first official visit, before touching down in Sydney.

Mr Hollande met with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and has planned talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra tomorrow, as part of the two day visit.

Diplomatic relations between France and Australia have historically been frosty after French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

New Caledonia, one of Australia鈥檚 closest neighbours, is one of three French dependencies in the Pacific region and President Hollande has signaled France’s intention to maintain a presence there.

French President #Fran莽oisHollande gets a 21 gun salute at Sydney’s Fleet Steps @SBSNews pic.twitter苏州半永久网会所,/u9Njt0hDQv

鈥?Gary Cox (@GCoxsbs) November 18, 2014

His office says the aim of the visit is to “strengthen the historical links and economic relations” between France and Australia.

During a key-note speech later today at the Business Council of Australia, President Hollande is expected to make growing economic relations with Australia a priority.

He travelled with a large business delegation and will tour a joint French- Australian defence research facility.

France and Australia signed a Strategic Partnership agreement in 2012 as a as a sign of improving relations between the two nations.

In 2012-13, bilateral trade between Australia and France stood at $5.4 billion.