Hold the Freedom Fries. The new French President-elect François Hollande wants the world to know that he speaks English—better than proudly pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy—and isn’t out to “make things difficult for Barack Obama” on issues like Afghanistan.

“Yes, I speak English, more fluently than the former president. But a French president has to speak French!” Hollande told Slate.fr—in English—in a wide-ranging interview published one day after he beat Sarkozy in a runoff election.

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The Socialist was to meet with Obama next week before two important international summits: a G8 gathering sure to focus on ways to pull the world economy out of its slump, and a NATO meeting to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan.

Hollande said he saw potential areas of agreement with Obama on economic issues and praised the American president for charting a different foreign-policy course than his predecessor.

“I will therefore assert France’s independence without making things difficult for Barack Obama,” said the new French leader.

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Read More at news.yahoo.com. By Olivier Knox.

Photo Credit: idf-fotos (Creative Commons)