Trump, Macron agree on Euro­pean de­fence

New Straits Times - - WORLD -

PARIS: France’s Em­manuel Macron and United States Pres­i­dent Donald Trump agreed yes­ter­day on the need for Europe to bear more of the bur­den for de­fence, pa­per­ing over an ear­lier Trump tweet that de­scribed Macron’s call for a Euro­pean army as “very in­sult­ing”.

Meet­ing for talks at the El­y­see ahead of com­mem­o­ra­tions to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War 1, Macron wel­comed Trump with a firm hand­shake, but there ap­peared to be less im­me­di­ate warmth be­tween them than in the past.

Seated on gilded chairs, Macron placed his hand on Trump’s knee and re­ferred to him as “my friend”, while Trump sought to find com­mon ground on an is­sue that had caused fric­tion.

“We want a strong Europe, it’s very im­por­tant to us, and which­ever way we can do it the best and ef­fi­cient would be some­thing we both want,” said Trump.

“We want to help Europe but it has to be fair. Right now, the bur­den shar­ing has been on the US.”

Macron echoed those sen­ti­ments, say­ing he wanted Europe to bear a greater share of the de­fence costs within the North Atlantic Treaty Or­gan­i­sa­tion, a point he had made re­peat­edly since taking of­fice, along­side calls for Europe to de­velop its own mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity.

REUTERS PIC

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and his US coun­ter­part, Donald Trump, in Paris yes­ter­day.

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