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French press review 7 June 2014

The 70th anniversary of D-Day landings in Normandy on Friday is everyone’s top story as all the papers reflect on what will be remembered as the most gruelling and emotional day for veterans, world leaders and people around the world.

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Le Figaro’s special coverage includes illustrations of key moments in the long day of tribute to the veterans, the superstar reception granted Queen Elizabeth, the opportunity for dialogue Normandy offered Russia and Ukraine and the innovations which marked this year’s ceremonies.

It was an almost perfect D-Day writes Libération, attended by 19 heads of state including Vladmir Putin, Ukraine’s newly-elected President Petro Poroshenko. The left-leaning newspaper says Friday’s commemoration will also be remembered as Hollande Day as the French President was on all fronts, chaining up speeches, making sure all was in place for the parades in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the armed forces and serving as go-between for the some of the world’s most powerful leaders.

For Libé, Hollande executed the events impressively with the first encounter between Russian leader Vladmir Putin and Ukraine’s newly-elected President Petro Poroshenko, as well as a brief talk between Putin and US President Barack Obama.

In an editorial Le Figaro also salutes the solemnity, the emotion of remembrance and dignified manner in which the veterans and world leaders marked the grim anniversary. The right-wing newspaper also hails the Putin-Obama handshake as one of the warmest moments of the D-Day Commemorations describing it as “a first break in the Normandy clouds”. Le Figaro believes the encounter probably facilitated long-awaited reconciliation talks between Moscow and Kiev, concluding it was indeed a peace of the braves, with gestures made and words exchanged.

Le Figaro also looks forward to Sunday’s historic meeting in Rome where Pope Francis has invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas for special prayers on peace in the Middle East. The paper explains that the head of the Catholic Church tendered the invitation during his recent trip to the Holy Land.

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Le Figaro spotlights kind remarks Shimon Peres made about Pope Francis as he prepared for the trip to Rome. He describes Pope Francis as man with whom they can agree and who is absolutely committed to peace. According to the paper, the Pope’s objective is not just to pray with the long-time belligerents but to ensure that the special prayer leaves an indelible mark on public opinion not just in the region but around the world.

And the sports daily L’Equipe marked the end of the action-packed serial on French football star Franck Ribéry after France manager Didier Deschamps confirmed he had been ruled out of the World Cup. The paper reports that the Bayern Munich winger pulled up in pain with a back injury at France's Clairefontaine training camp on the outskirts of Paris, complicating a burnout he suffered after a gruelling Bundesliga season. His exit deprives France of their prime attacking focal point, according to the sports paper.

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