Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Syria, Counterterrorism Lead Agenda for Trump Trip to France

U.S. President Donald Trump departs Wednesday on a trip to France focused on counterterrorism talks with French President Emmanuel and marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. troops entering World War I.


The two leaders are set to hold their meeting Thursday in Paris before speaking to reporters.


“We will talk about all the issues which are of interest to us both, including those about which we have disagreements when we have them, but also a lot of the issues on which we are working together — the terrorism threat, the crises in Syria and Libya, and a lot of issues which are of interest to us both,” Macron said.


A senior U.S. official told reporters the White House expects the situation in Syria and U.S.-French cooperation both there and on other counterterror issues to take up most of the discussion, while there could also be some follow-up to last week’s G-20 summit in Germany.


France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since late 2014. A large majority of those strikes this year have taken place in Syria, where the militants have their de facto capital in the city of Raqqa.


Trump and Macron are both in their first year in office and have shown policy differences when it comes to international efforts to combat climate change. But they also share certain goals, such as reducing the number of employees in their respective governments.


The senior administration official described the relationship between the presidents as “very positive.”


On Friday, Trump and his wife, Melania, will attend the annual Bastille Day parade, which will include both French and U.S. military members.


“The fact that we participated in such a major way in World War I, side by side with the French, is a clear parallel to what we’re doing today,” the senior administration official said. “We still live in a dangerous world. We still live in a world that has many, many threats.”

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