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Chirac, as term ends, marks V-E Day

May 8, 2007 at 6:24 PM

PARIS, May 8 (UPI) -- Jacques Chirac, probably the last French president to have lived through World War II, made his final public appearance Tuesday at a ceremony marking its end.

Chirac visited the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe on Victory in Europe Day, the BBC reported. He was joined by World War II veterans, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and Defense Minister Michel Alliot-Marie.

The president was 12 years old on May 8, 1945, when the Germans surrendered, ending the European war.

Chirac has been president since 1995. Nicolas Sarkozy assumes the presidency next week.

Sarkozy is on vacation in the Mediterranean. He said he would not attend the V-E Day ceremony because he did not want France to appear to be "a republic with two heads."

Chirac holds his last cabinet meeting Wednesday.

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