His meeting with the French leader was followed by a working lunch with Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister.

He is due to travel to London later on Monday to brief the British government on his first round of meetings.

Sarkozy was also due to hold talks with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president on Monday.

Abbas is touring Europe this week to discuss reconstruction efforts in Gaza, following the 22-day Israeli offensive that left 1,330 dead.

The French president is also expected to meet with Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, whose country negotiated a peace accord between Lebanon's rival factions in May 2008.