US friendship with France 'unbreakable', Trump says on Paris visit
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French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump gave a joint press conference on Thursday as the US leader arrived to take part in Bastille Day celebrations.
"The friendship between our two nations and ourselves is unbreakable," Trump said after bilateral talks focused on joint US-French efforts to fight terrorism in the Middle East and Africa.
Macron said he and Trump were able to discuss how best to combat "a global threat with enemies who are trying to destabilise us".
The French president also acknowledged that sharp differences remain with Trump when it comes to the Paris climate agreement but noted that the US withdrawal from the Paris accord was one of Trump’s campaign promises.
"I respect the decision of President Trump," Macron told a joint news conference in Paris. "As a result he will lead the necessary thought and work that correspond to his campaign promises. For my part, I remain committed to the Paris accord."
Trump seemed to indicate that his decision on the agreement was not final, saying: “Something could happen with respect to the Paris accords, let’s see what happens. If it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t, that’ll be OK too.”
Trump has said the Paris accord is too lenient on leading polluters like China and India, which adversely affects US industry.
Macron said he understood such concerns, but that domestic interests could be protected under the rubric of the agreement. “I respect the wish to preserve jobs, I think that’s compatible with the Paris accord,” he said, adding that “there is shared intention to continue discussing these issues”.
The Russia question
During brief questions after the press conference, one journalist reminded Trump of comments he had made in the past about France and Germany. Trump said both countries were “infected” by terrorism, adding that it was their own fault for not doing more to restrict immigration.
Trump responded that Paris "is going to be just fine" because France now has a "great" president who is “tough”.
The US president has come under fire at home for proposals that have aimed to severely curtail visits and immigration to the US from six majority Muslim countries.
Trump was also asked about allegations that his son, Donald Jr., accepted a meeting last year with a lawyer who promised to help his father’s presidential campaign by providing information from the Russian government.
"My son is a wonderful young man. He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer. Not a government lawyer, but a Russian lawyer," Trump said in his first public remarks about the scandal.
"From a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting," he added.
Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, earlier showed the US leader and First Lady Melania Trump around Les Invalides, the site of Napoleon's tomb, soon after they arrived for their whirlwind, 36-hour visit.
The presidential couples dined this evening at the Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant, which offers spectacular views over Paris from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Trump will participate in Bastille Day celebrations on Friday, including the traditional military parade down the Champs-Élysées, and will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the US entering into World War I.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)