Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - VI­VIAN SALAMA

PARIS — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron set aside lin­ger­ing dif­fer­ences on cli­mate change dur­ing their meet­ing Thurs­day in France, as­sert­ing that it shouldn’t pre­vent them from work­ing to­gether to­ward a post­war road map for Syria and to en­hance Mideast se­cu­rity.

Trump, stand­ing along­side Macron at a news con­fer­ence, said the two na­tions have “oc­ca­sional dis­agree­ments” but that would not dis­rupt a friend­ship that dates back to the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. He re­mained non­com­mit­tal about the United States even­tu­ally re­join­ing the global cli­mate agree­ment that bears Paris’ name, telling Macron, “if it hap­pens that will be won­der­ful, and if it doesn’t that will be OK, too.”

Macron ac­knowl­edged sharp dif­fer­ences on the Paris cli­mate pact but said the two lead­ers could find other ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion. “Should that have an im­pact on the dis­cus­sions we’re hav­ing on all other top­ics? No, ab­so­lutely not,” he said.

Trump ar­rived in the French cap­i­tal Thurs­day for a 36-hour visit to meet with Macron and tackle po­ten­tial so­lu­tions to the cri­sis in Syria and dis­cuss broader coun­tert­er­ror­ism strate­gies be­fore be­ing feted at Bastille Day cel­e­bra­tions to­day.

Top­ics like re­solv­ing the years­long civil war in Syria and coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism gave Trump and Macron ar­eas to co­op­er­ate. The two said they also dis­cussed the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tions in Ukraine and Libya.

Trump praised a cease­fire in south­ern Syria that he helped bro­ker last week with Rus­sia and Jor­dan and said the U.S. was work­ing on a sec­ond cease-fire in a “rough part of Syria.”

Macron said he dis­cussed with Trump a road map for the coun­try that would help sta­bi­lize the sit­u­a­tion after the war ends. He has ar­gued for in­ter­ven­tion in Syria, say­ing that Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad is a threat to the war-rav­aged coun­try and the Is­lamic State group is a threat to France.

France has been plagued in re­cent years by ex­trem­ist at­tacks, and Trump noted that dur­ing last year’s Bastille Day cel­e­bra­tions, a 19-ton cargo truck de­lib­er­ately plowed into crowds in Nice, killing more than 80 peo­ple.

While the U.S. has split with the ma­jor world pow­ers on the en­vi­ron­ment, the two lead­ers tried to patch over those dif­fer­ences.

Trump, who has said the cli­mate deal was un­fair to the U.S., stated the coun­try is com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment de­spite his re­cent with­drawal de­ci­sion.

Macron, a staunch ad­vo­cate of re­search to com­bat global warm­ing, has beck­oned “all re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens,” in­clud­ing Amer­i­can sci­en­tists and re­searchers, to take their fight against cli­mate change to France.

Trump, Macron, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and other world lead­ers hud­dled last week in Ham­burg, Ger­many, dur­ing a sum­mit of the world’s lead­ing rich and de­vel­op­ing na­tions. Merkel and Macron met again Thurs­day in Paris, be­fore Macron’s meet­ing with Trump. Trump and Merkel were not ex­pected to meet.

Merkel said dur­ing a joint ap­pear­ance with Macron that it was im­por­tant they keep talk­ing with Trump even where the dif­fer­ences be­tween them are clear.

“We did not pa­per over these dif­fer­ences, but nev­er­the­less con­tact, the abil­ity to speak is of course im­por­tant,” she said.

Trump and Macron spent sev­eral hours to­gether Thurs­day in some of Paris’ most op­u­lent set­tings, with a visit to the golden-domed In­valides mon­u­ment fol­lowed by meet­ings at the pres­i­den­tial palace. Trump also marked the 100th an­niver­sary of Amer­ica’s en­try into World War I by vis­it­ing U.S. troops.

The visit, along with the cel­e­bra­tion of French na­tional pride on Bastille Day, was cast by the White House as a com­mem­o­ra­tion of the U.S. French mil­i­tary al­liance — both then and now.

The lead­ers and their wives capped Thurs­day with a lav­ish din­ner at the Jules Verne restau­rant in the Eif­fel Tower.

All of which put Trump in the awk­ward po­si­tion of be­ing feted in a city he has re­peat­edly dis­par­aged. When he an­nounced his de­ci­sion on the cli­mate agree­ment, Trump said he was “elected to rep­re­sent the cit­i­zens of Pitts­burgh, not Paris.” And he has fre­quently said in the past that the city has been ru­ined by the threat of ter­ror­ism, which he ties to im­mi­grants.

“Paris isn’t Paris any longer,” he said in Fe­bru­ary.

Asked about those com­ments, Trump called Paris “one of the great cities, one of the most beau­ti­ful cities in the world” and heaped praise on the re­cently elected Macron, telling re­porters, “You have a great leader now, you have a great pres­i­dent.”

“You’re go­ing to have a very, very peace­ful and beau­ti­ful Paris and I’m com­ing back,” Trump said, needling Macron, “You bet­ter do a good job please. Oth­er­wise you’re go­ing to make me look very bad.”

His du­ti­ful host, Macron, re­sponded, “You’re al­ways wel­come.”

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Dar­lene Su­perville, Ken Thomas, Jill Colvin and Julie Bykow­icz of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

AP/CAROLYN KASTER

and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron hold a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day in Paris. Trump de­fended his son’s meet­ing with a Rus­sian lawyer in June 2016, call­ing it stan­dard pol­i­tics. Trump and his wife, Me­la­nia, later dined with Macron and his wife in the Eif­fel Tower.

The New York Times/STEPHEN CROW­LEY

Brigitte Macron (clock­wise from left), Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Me­la­nia Trump and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron dine Thurs­day at the op­u­lent the Jules Verne restau­rant in the Eif­fel Tower.

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