News / USA

Obama, Hollande Hail Transformed US-French Relationship

French President Visits With Obama At Jefferson's Monticelloi
X
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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs