"I cannot jeopardise the security and safety of my country," Sarkozy said in a media report on Sunday, Apr 11, hours before the opening of the Nuclear Security Summit by US President Barack Obama.
Sarkozy said that France will not give up its nation's nuclear weapons programme "on a unilateral basis, in a world as dangerous as the one in which we live today."
He said that instead of expecting France, which has comparatively smaller number of atomic weapons, to disarm, countries like US and Russia should make the first move in limiting their own huge nuclear stockpiles.
"You have to realise, we're a country of 65 million inhabitants," he said.
"We have fewer conventional weapons than the US, than Russia, than China, for that matter.
"I have inherited the legacy of the efforts made by my nuclear stockpiles to build up France as a nuclear power. And I could not give up nuclear weapons if I wasn't sure the world was a stable and safe place."
The two-day Nuclear Security Summit, convened by Obama will concentrate on obtaining a broad international commitment on securing loose fissile material and to prevent it from getting into the hands of terrorists or rogue states.