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Trump and Macron the world's new power couple?

Jon Shelton
April 24, 2018

US President Donald Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron addressed reporters after "a frank and productive private meeting." The alliance between their countries seems to have reached a new personal level.

French President Emmanuel Macron clasps hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the conclusion of their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S.,
Image: Reuters/J. Ernst

Trump, Macron meet at the White House

When US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron emerged from an Oval Office meeting to address government officials and reporters at the White House Tuesday, the men stressed not only the historic ties that bind their respective countries but also willingly displayed their personal friendship for the world to see.

The leaders called their meeting "frank and productive" and addressed a number of topics in their initial statements including the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, Syria, trade, immigration and the environment.

Read moreCan Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron save the Iran nuclear deal?

Macron: 'We want to work on a new deal with Iran'

Key points on a range of topics included:

Iran: Trump stressed the idea of "maximum pressure" on Iran and called for Tehran to end its sponsorship of terrorism, as Macron suggested expanding the nuclear deal with treaties on Iran's long-term nuclear ambitions, ballistic missiles, and Tehran's involvement in regional conflicts.

Syria: Trump spoke of how "civilized nations came together to ban chemical weapons" after World War I before praising France's fighting forces in last week's coordinated airstrikes in Syria, to which Macron pointed out the importance of fighting for victory but also for peace.

North Korea: Trump touted the concept of applying "maximum pressure" when it comes to North Korea and Iran and thanked France for its commitment to ending nuclear proliferation in North Korea.

Trade: Trump's calls for exploring bilateral trade "based on fairness and reciprocity" were echoed by Macron's reference to the importance of "compliance to trade laws among allies" and the need for a "stable and sustainable framework." 

Friendship: Both men emphasized their countries' two centuries of alliance but also their own personal "friendship" as Macron said, "I like him a lot," prompting a chuckle from Trump as the meeting ended.

French journalist Thibaut Madelin told DW that the friendship between Macron and Trump was viewed with a "mixture of admiration and skepticism" at home. 

"In Germany, public opinion is against Trump, but in France the view is more pragmatic. If Macron has a fruitful relationship with Trump, it will be greeted in a positive way in France," he said.

Will Macron visit yield results?

First state visit

Macron is the first foreign leader to be afforded the honor of receiving an official state visit in the Trump White House.

The two men and their wives have maintained a busy agenda throughout. The lavish welcome included a symbolically important private dinner at the home of America's first president, George Washington, and a trip by the first ladies to the National Gallery in Washington.

Read more: The Macron effect: France now world's top 'soft power' thanks to president, cuisine and culture

Tuesday evening sees the French president and his wife as guests of honor at a state dinner and on Wednesday, Macron will address a joint session of Congress.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be traveling to Washington to meet with President Trump this Friday. Her reception is set to involve decidedly less fanfare than that of her French counterpart. 

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