French President Nicolas Sarkozy landed in Israel with wife Carla Bruni on Sunday for his first official visit to the country since taking office, in honor of the State's 60th anniversary. At the welcoming ceremony held at Ben Gurion Airport, President Shimon Peres praised Sarkozy's "brave words" on the Iranian nuclear threat as well as his talk of peace, which "reverberated throughout the Middle East." Sarkozy was accompanied by over 100 French industry leaders as well as prominent members of the Jewish community and several French ministers. In his speech Peres spoke of the close ties between the two countries, which have dramatically improved in recent years as Sarkozy moved to counter the frosty animosity left by his predecessors. ''France has left an imprint on Israel's revival, a revival you recently referred to as 'one of the most significant events in the 20th century,''' Peres said. ''France's contribution to the foundation of the state of Israel did not stem from an opportunistic sentiment, but was sparked by the noblest of human values.'' French president in Israel (Video: Infolive.tv) Speaking in Hebrew and French, Peres added that "the cooperation between us has created a cultural and economical foundation. This foundation, inspired by French tradition, has given rise to a growth that realizes the great potential of the human resources embodied in Israeli society." He commended the president on his achievements in the region, saying that his message "places tomorrow before today and establishes the framework for cooperation between the nations of the Middle East, which could bring on a psychological boost and economical leverage for a better tomorrow." Olmert, Sarkozy shaking hands (Photo: Ofer Amram) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also praised the French leader. "Within the European Union and in all the international forums, France, under Sarkozy's leadership, has expressed a fair and decent stance on all issues related to Israel's policy in the region, and has stood by Israel during times of trial. "France's contribution to Israel's strength and security during the first decades of its existence was enormous, and during the past few years our relationship has expanded and deepened in an unprecedented way in every field," the prime minister said. France's first couple (Photo: Ofer Amram) Sarkozy said he sees himself as a friend to Israel. "An agreement is possible tomorrow. It alone will allow two states to live side-by-side in peace and safety," he said During his visit, Sarkozy is scheduled to meet Olmert, who is reportedly expected to ask him for France's help in launching direct peace negotiations with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. Israel hopes Paris' influence in Beirut can persuade Siniora to agree to the talks. Olmert and Sarkozy are also expected to discuss the possibility of arranging a historic meeting between the prime minister and Syrian President Bashar Assad during an upcoming peace conference in Paris next week. Assad has yet to reply to the French invitation. .