World leaders gather for funeral of France’s Jacques Chirac

PARIS (Reuters) – About 30 foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, gathered on Monday in the French capital for the funeral of former president Jacques Chirac, who died last week aged 86.

Chirac was feted by many French people for asserting the country’s role as a global player and for opposing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while a conviction after he left office for misusing public funds did little to tarnish his image.

Military honours will be paid to Chirac at the Hotel des Invalides in central Paris, where he has been lying in state, before his coffin is taken in a procession to the church of Saint Sulpice.

There, the visiting heads of state and government will join French dignitaries at a funeral ceremony. Later, French President Emmanuel Macron will host the visiting leaders at a lunch at the Elysee Palace.

Other leaders attending the ceremony include German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, according to the Elysee Palace.

Chirac is to be buried at the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris, in a plot next to his daughter Laurence, who died in 2016.

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