The French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, on the third day of his visit to Corsica (9 June) has paid tribute to the Foreign Legion paratroopers who took part in last month's evacuation of Europeans from the Zaire town of Kolwezi.
GV: Aircraft flying overhead.
GV: President Giscard walking to insect guard of honour.
GV: Aircraft overhead.
GV: Giscard inspects troops in guard of honour. (3 SHOTS)
SV: Giscard lays wreath. (2 SHOTS)
SV & GV: Giscard standing at attention. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: The French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, on the third day of his visit to Corsica (9 June) has paid tribute to the Foreign Legion paratroopers who took part in last month's evacuation of Europeans from the Zaire town of Kolwezi.
SYNOPSIS: A fly-past added an air force salute as the President arrived at the Foreign Legion base at Calvi on the island.
The Second Paratroop Regiment the President had come to inspect is formed of about a thousand men from 23 different countries. The majority are Europeans, mostly French, Belgians, West Germans, Italians Spanish and British. the Regiment has already been mentioned in despatches for the bravery it demonstrated in rescuing Europeans from Kolwezi, and later in the day it was announced that it had also been awarded France's highest military order. President Giscard told their commanding officer, Colonel Philippe Erulin, that they had saved hundreds of lives during their successful mission.
There was massive security for President Giscard d'Estaing during his visit to the island where separatists have been waging a violent campaign against French rule. The authorities feared that extremists might use the President's visit to stage a spectacular act of violence.
Before his arrival about 30 suspects were rounded up after police discovered a large cache of arms and explosives in Northern Corsica. Even the Foreign Legion itself was not immune from attack. The regiment only returned from Zaire the day before. Shortly before they arrived a bomb destroyed Colonel Erulin's car and garage.
The parade was the past major engagement for the President before he left for Paris. His visit was the first by a French President since 1969, when Georges Pompidou went there to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte's birth on the island. President Giscard has promised that the French Government will work to make Corsica "a happy, open and prosperous island". Corsicans had a right to security for themselves and their property. The Government's policies towards the island would not change whatever happened in Corsica, "be it peaceful or disturbed", he said.