Paris: Proud papa Nicolas Sarkozy, the first French president to have a baby while in office, on Thursday said he and wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy feel "a very profound happiness" over the birth of their first child and added that mother and daughter are doing "very well."

It was the French leader's first official comments about the birth, which took place on Wednesday at a maternity clinic in western Paris. He did not give the baby's name, in keeping with the couple's coyness throughout the pregnancy and labor.

"We are lucky to have been blessed by a new arrival," Sarkozy told journalists on a visit to a recycling plant in Normandy. "All parents can understand the very profound happiness Carla and I feel, and at the same time everyone can understand that this happiness is all the more profound because it is private."

Privacy was the guiding principle of the baby's hush-hush birth. Police officers posted outside the maternity clinic for the past weeks kept the journalists at bay, and it was largely the head of state's frequent visits Wednesday that tipped the news media here off as to what was going on inside.

The tight control over news of the birth appears to be part of a strategy aimed at portraying Sarkozy as fully absorbed in resolving the problems gripping France and Europe. The eurozone debt crisis took priority over the baby on Wednesday, as Sarkozy jetted off to Frankfurt for a last-minute meeting with the German chancellor while his wife was in labor. He was absent for the child's birth, according to BFM TV, but visited the clinic upon his return to Paris.

He also made an early morning visit to the clinic on Thursday, ahead of a previously scheduled trip to Normandy, where he visited a recycling center.

(Agencies)