1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Politics
  4. Politics

Obama, Hollande to cement 'forever' Franco-US friendship

Obama, Hollande to cement 'forever' Franco-US friendship Obama, Hollande to cement 'forever' Franco-US friendship
President Barack Obama will Tuesday highlight a new national security dimension to America's oldest alliance as he deploys the full pageantry of a state visit for France's President Francois Hollande, AFP reports.
A 21-gun salute and full military honors await Hollande on the chilly South Lawn of the White House, before a day of talks on issues ranging from Iran to climate change, trade to combating Islamist threats. Later, Obama and Hollande will toast what the French leader described as a forever friendship forged during a time of revolution more than 200 years ago. But Hollande will be flying solo at the state dinner in a huge marquee sumptuously decorated with French accents, amid turmoil in his love life which made global headlines. The authenticity of the Franco-US alliance, often tumultuous, lies in its resilience: ties are now tightening a decade after they ruptured over Iraq. Washington has welcomed and provided logistical support for France's interventions to quell the spread of Islamic militants in Africa's Sahel region. The allies are also key players in the group of world powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, and blame President Bashar al-Assad for gross atrocities in Syria. France was also to the fore in a military adventure in its own neighborhood in the Libya operation which overthrew Moamer Kadhafi after an initial US bombardment. Hollande opened his three-day visit to the United States with a rare flight for a foreign leader aboard Air Force One on Monday. The presidents then toured the Virginia homestead of Thomas Jefferson, seeking to forge a personal bond in richly symbolic surroundings. The US leader said Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to France and the third US president, represented "what's best in America." "But as we see as we travel through his home, what he also represents is the incredible bond and the incredible gifts that France gave to the United States, because he was a Francophile through and through." Hollande extended the historical allusion to include the Marquis de Lafayette, the French nobleman who fought for America's independence in George Washington's revolutionary army. "We were allies in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette. We are still allies today. We were friends in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette, and we will remain friends forever." Symbolism will cede to serious business on Tuesday, with Oval Office talks likely to focus on the war in Syria, Iran's nuclear program and Ukraine's political crisis. The leaders will also likely discuss French military operations in Mali and the Central African Republic -- Washington has provided air transport, intelligence support and logistical help for both French missions in Africa. A proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the United States will also be on the agenda, as Obama faces a tough domestic fight to win authority to negotiate trade deals in a mid-term election year. On a personal note, Hollande hopes to leave embarrassment from his split from girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler -- France's former first lady, behind. But her absence will be noted at the state dinner when guests will savor American caviar, quail eggs, rib-eye steak, and Vermont blue cheese, washed down with a selection of American wines. Unlike some presidential couples, notably Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, the Obamas have been sparing with their official hospitality. Tuesday's event, featuring music from Mary J. Blige, is only the seventh state or official dinner hosted by the First Couple in five years in the White House. It is also the first such occasion of Obama's second term. Hollande's trip is the first full state visit by a French leader to Washington since 1996 and is expected to highlight the "excellent working relationship" between the United States and France, according to sources at the Elysee. But the pair will also discuss issues that have bedeviled relations, including concerns over mass US spying in France. The leaders will also hold a joint press conference. Ahead of their meetings, Hollande and Obama issued a joint call for other nations to join them in seeking an "ambitious" agreement to curb climate change. In a column published in The Washington Post and Le Monde, they also marveled at improving relations. "A decade ago, few would have imagined our countries working so closely together in so many ways. But in recent years our alliance has transformed," the presidents wrote. Hollande, whose approval rating is the lowest of any modern French leader, is under intense pressure to boost his country's ailing economy. So he will head from Washington to California Wednesday to meet tech leaders in Silicon Valley.
Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights