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France's Sarkozy, girlfriend Bruni arrive at Luxor hotel holding hands

France's Sarkozy, girlfriend Bruni arrive at Luxor hotel holding hands

Sporting dark sunglasses and holding hands, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his topmodel-turned-singer girlfriend Carla Bruni, arrived in Luxor Tuesday, kicking off a private visit to Egypt.
As the couple touched down in Luxor, heavy security prevented media from approaching Sarkozy's entourage. Sameer Farag, head of Luxor's Supreme Local Council of antiquities, greeted them on landing.
The couple were promptly whisked off in a convoy of Egyptian presidential security cars to Luxor's famed Old Winter Palace hotel on the east bank of the Nile.
The two, wearing dark casual clothes in balmy Egyptian winter weather, turned to wave to a crowd of onlookers and media as they walked up to the hotel, appearing relaxed and at ease with the media attention.
Security was also stepped up around the hotel and at the three archaeological sites Sarkozy and Bruni were to visit later Tuesday _ the Luxor Temple, the city's museum and the Karnak Temple.
In Paris, France-2 television reported Bruni and Sarkozy would stay for three days at Winter Palace. The TV also said Luxor police were cracking down on photographers staking out the hotel and that a camera crew spent a night in jail for filming the hotel's facade.
The French embassy in Cairo declined to reveal any details of Sarkozy's trip, saying only the visit was a private one. An official visit of the French leader would start next Monday, when Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are to hold talks, the embassy said.
French media have also reported Sarkozy and Bruni would travel to Sharm el-Sheikh on Thursday with their entourage, which reportedly also included Sarkozy's mother Andree and one of his sons, and would stay there in a villa owned by Abu Dhabi sheik.
Sarkozy's mother and son were not spotted in Luxor by media cramming for a snap of the president and Bruni.
Sarkozy and Bruni first surfaced as a couple earlier this month in French media on a visit to Disneyland Paris and two months after the French president's divorce from his wife of 11 years, Cecilia.
The longtime model Bruni, 39 and an Italian-born French citizen, won critical and public acclaim for her first folk album in 2003, singing in a raspy, whispery voice. She has dated a range of famous men, including Mick Jagger and Donald Trump, and has also reportedly been linked to singer Eric Clapton and actor Vincent Perez.
Sarkozy, 52, often put his private and family life on display for the media but bristled at the interest in his tempestuous relationship with Cecilia, his second marriage.


Updated : 2021-08-05 19:40 GMT+08:00