Trump, Macron face differences on Iran,
trade, in French visit
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[April 23, 2018]
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President
Donald Trump welcomes France's Emmanuel Macron to the White House on
Monday at the start of a three-day state visit expected to be dominated
by U.S.-European differences on the Iran nuclear deal and souring trade
It will be Trump's first hosting of a state visit since he took power in
January 2017. The pair will get a sense of their two countries' shared
history during an evening meal on Monday night at Mount Vernon, the home
of George Washington, the first U.S. president and Revolutionary War
commander whose alliance with France was critical to victory over the
The major work between them is scheduled for Tuesday during White House
meetings, before Macron addresses Congress on Wednesday, the anniversary
of the day that French General Charles de Gaulle addressed a Joint
Session of Congress in 1960.
Trump and the 40-year-old French leader began their improbable
friendship a year ago in Belgium with a jaw-clenching handshake. While
other European leaders have kept a certain distance from Trump, Macron
has worked hard to remain close to the U.S. president and the two
leaders speak frequently by phone.
Macron is on something of a rescue mission for the 2015 Iran nuclear
deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which
Trump has vowed to scrap unless European allies strengthen it by
The deal reached between Iran, the United States and five other world
powers put curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions
Macron said on Fox News Sunday that it would be better to protect the
Iran deal instead of get rid of it, saying there is no "Plan B" to take
"Is this agreement perfect and this JCPOA a perfect thing for our
relationship with Iran? No. But for nuclear -- what do you have? As a
better option? I don't see it," he said.
Macron also wants to persuade Trump to exempt European nations from
steel tariffs that are part of the U.S. president's plan to reduce
chronic trade deficits with countries around the world, chiefly China.
His visit comes at a time of mounting alarm in Europe over the knock-on
effect that U.S. sanctions on Russia will have on their own
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President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New
York, U.S., September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
An official in the French presidency said Paris and other European
capitals were coordinating efforts to persuade Trump to ease
sanctions on Russia, including measures against Russian aluminum
"We're working on that with our European partners," the source said.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss Syria, less than two
weeks after the United States, France and Britain launched
airstrikes in Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons
attack that killed dozens in Douma, Syria.
Macron said last week that he believed he had persuaded Trump to
keep U.S. troops in Syria, but Trump has been insistent on bringing
them home, although he has not publicly provided a definite
Whether substantive progress will be made on these and other issues
"Whether we will actually solve, or come to closure, or a full
detailed agreement on some of the issues that we've touched on is
difficult to say at this remove," a senior administration official
told reporters on Friday.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Michel Rose and
Richard Lough in Paris; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
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