News / USA

Obama, Hollande Hail Transformed US-French Relationship

French President Visits With Obama At Jefferson's Monticelloi
February 11, 2014 3:12 AM
French President Francois Hollande visited with U.S. President Barack Obama, a day before a state dinner for him at the White House. The two visited Monticello, the residence of the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson. As Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA, Jefferson’s home has meaning for both countries.
French President Visits With Obama At Jefferson's Monticello. As Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA, Jefferson’s home has meaning for both countries.
U.S. President Barack Obama welcomes France's President Francois Hollande to the White House Tuesday for the first state visit by a French president since 1996. Discussions will cover Iran nuclear negotiations, Syria, counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, trade, economic issues and climate change.
To underscore more than two centuries of close relations, Obama on Monday took President Hollande to Charlottesville, Virginia and Monticello, the 18th century mansion that was home to Thomas Jefferson.
France supported the original 13 American colonies in their independence war with Britain. Jefferson, the third U.S. president, was the principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence, and the second U.S. envoy to France, where he served from 1785 to 1789.
Obama said Monticello signifies the "incredible history" between the United States and France, and bonds that helped lead to the American Revolution and influenced the French Revolution.
"All this is signified here at Monticello and our hope in starting our visit this way is that just as we can extend back through generations to see the links between the United States and France, tomorrow we will have an opportunity to talk about not only our current bonds and alliance but ways we can strengthen our cooperation in the future," said Obama.
Obama said Monticello also represents the "complicated history" of the United States and "complex relations" Jefferson had with slavery. He said this as a reminder of the importance of continuing to fight for the rights of all peoples.
Hollande spoke about the bonds uniting the two countries and the importance of defending freedom, human dignity and human rights, and the strength of the alliance.
"We were allies in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette, we are indeed still allies today. We were friends in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette, and we will remain friends forever," said Hollande.
Leslie Greene Bowman, president and CEO of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, was a guide for the two leaders, and spoke earlier with VOA.
"It's a great honor to us that President Obama has chosen the home of our most famous francophile and perhaps the place in America that best symbolizes the longstanding friendship between the United States and France," said Bowman.
On Tuesday, Hollande will receive the traditional ceremonial welcome on the White House South Lawn, before going into talks with Obama.
Later comes the glamorous State Dinner with a guest list of more than 300, including Washington officialdom and movie stars, and a musical performance by Mary J. Blige.
The White House was forced to re-print engraved invitations for the State Dinner after Hollande's announcement last month of his breakup with his former partner.
Senior U.S. administration officials said the visit underscores Obama's vision of "partners working together" on global issues. The officials cited nuclear negotiations with Iran, security challenges in Syria and North Africa, and U.S. support for French operations against Islamist fighters in Mali.
In a joint op-ed published in Le Monde and The Washington Post, Obama and Hollande spoke of a transformed alliance marked by expanded cooperation.
They cited cooperation in NATO, joint pressure to bring about the removal of chemical weapons from Syria, and steps to prevent al-Qaida from gaining new footholds in Africa.
Heather Conley, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the U.S.-French relationship has become increasingly important.
"Now we are talking about working together in Africa, working closely around the Iran negotiating table, talking about Syria, these are really the global hot spots of the day and the U.S.-French relationship, whether that is [in] the [U.N.] Security Council or the NATO table, is really becoming important," said Conley.
Also on the agenda in Tuesday's talks: U.S.-Europe economic growth and trade, including negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, strengthening the eurozone, and addressing climate change.
Later in the week, Hollande visits the San Francisco area, where he will meet with executives of Silicon Valley companies and entrepreneurs.
The French leader has invited Obama to visit France in June for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day commemoration in Normandy.
France also hosts a climate conference next year.  Both leaders have said they are renewing their commitment to lead the world in combating climate change.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs