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Carla Bruni gives birth

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Carla Bruni has given birth to a baby girl named Giulia at an exclusive clinic in Paris.

The child - the first to be born to a serving president in the history of France - was delivered at around 7.30pm on Wednesday night (19 October) at La Clinique de la Muette in Paris' 16th arrondissement.

"I'm very touched by the numerous messages of congratulations that have come in since the birth of our little girl Giulia," Bruni wrote in a message on her website.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was said to have been by his wife's side for around half an hour, but had to depart for a meeting in Germany with chancellor Angela Merkel at some point during the birth.

He was due back in Paris late on Wednesday night, but refused to answer any questions about the most recent addition to his family during a brief appearance in Frankfurt.

According to French media reports, the birth "went well" for France's first lady.

Italian-born Bruni has a ten-year-old son from a previous relationship, while Sarkozy has three children from his two earlier marriages.

The couple met just under four years ago and married after a whirlwind 80-day romance.

Bruni, 43, said she could not wait to give birth when questioned on the topic a few weeks ago. "I can't drink or smoke anymore," she said. "I'm in a hurry to get it over with."

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