News / Europe

Hollande Meets Obama, Reaffirms Early Afghanistan Withdrawal

French President Francois Hollande (left( and President Barack Obama hold discussions at the White House, May 18, 2012French President Francois Hollande (left( and President Barack Obama hold discussions at the White House, May 18, 2012
x
French President Francois Hollande (left( and President Barack Obama hold discussions at the White House, May 18, 2012
French President Francois Hollande (left( and President Barack Obama hold discussions at the White House, May 18, 2012
French President Francois Hollande and President Barack Obama have discussed Afghanistan, the eurozone crisis, Syria and other international issues in a meeting at the White House.

President Hollande's White House talks, his attendance at the G8 summit in Camp David, Maryland, and the NATO summit in Chicago, are part of his international debut after his election victory.

As a candidate he pledged to withdraw France's 3,400 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.  

That is far ahead of NATO's plan to pull all troops out of Afghanistan in 2014 as Afghan government forces assume full responsibility for security.

In translated remarks, President Hollande said he reminded Obama of that pledge to the French people, and said France's support for Afghanistan going forward will take a different form.

"We will continue to support Afghanistan in a different way, our support will take a different form and all of that will be done in a good understanding with our allies within ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] and so we will continue and comply with our commitment to that country, and [provide] supplies and support as I said in a different way," Hollande said.

In his remarks, President Obama said he and Mr. Hollande agreed that as NATO transitions out of a combat phrase, it is important to sustain the commitment to Afghanistan's security and development.

Obama said much of their discussion focused on the situation in eurozone saying it is of extraordinary importance to the people of Europe and to the world economy.

"We are looking forward to a fruitful discussion later this evening and tomorrow with the other G8 leaders about how we can manage a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda," Obama said.

President Hollande, who is a Socialist, campaigned on a pro-growth position and called for reconsideration of austerity measures European countries have taken, including a controversial European Union treaty strongly supported by Germany.
  • Security personnel watch as the airplane carrying French President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler arrives for the G-8 Summit at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly May 18, 2012.
  • An American Honor Guard greets the French Delegation as their plane arrives at Dulles International Airport.
  • French President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler arrive for the G-8 Summit at Dulles International Airport.
  • Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, left, walks to a motorcade upon his arrival at Dulles International Airport.
  • Oxfam activist wearing masks depicting G-8 world leaders participate in a demonstration outside the White House in Washington, May 17, 2012.
  • Jim Stull, 78, a life long resident of Thurmont, Maryland, places American flags along an exit ramp that will be traveled by dignitaries motorcading to Camp David for the G-8 Summit.
Hollande sidestepped the controversy about his anti-austerity views.

"I discussed the main topics with President Obama including the economy and the fact that growth must be a priority at the same time as we put in place some fiscal compacts to improve our finances.  And, on growth President Obama was able to acknowledge shared views so that we can progress," Hollande said.

Hollande said he and President Obama shared the view that Greece should remain in the eurozone.

On Iran, Hollande saying the U.S. and France agree on the importance of negotiations underway with Tehran, and the need to be firm on preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

On the Iran issue, as well as Afghanistan, and the Arab Spring, Obama said France has shown "great leadership"

"As I indicated to President Hollande, when the United States and France along with our other key allies make up our minds to stand firm on the side of democracy and freedom and development that enormous progress can be made," Obama said.

President Obama said he assured Mr. Hollande that the friendship and alliance with France is of extraordinary importance to him and greatly valued by the American people.

Hollande said France and the U.S. have always managed to overcome differences and said it was important for him to take the opportunity of the G8 and NATO summits to reaffirm the importance of the relationship.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs