News / USA

Obama, France's Hollande Make Pilgrimage to Monticello

President Barack Obama, right, and French President Francois Hollande, left, shake hands after talking with the media following their tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Feb. 10, 2014, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
President Barack Obama, right, and French President Francois Hollande, left, shake hands after talking with the media following their tour of Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Feb. 10, 2014, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Reuters
President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande toured Thomas Jefferson's plantation estate on Monday in a show of solidarity for Franco-American ties that have endured for more than two centuries despite the occasional tempest.
 
The visit to Monticello, home to America's third president, served to showcase a relationship that stretches back to the founding of the United States in the late 18th century, an alliance still strong despite spats over U.S. eavesdropping and trade talks with the European Union.
 
Hollande, 59, who split from his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, last month after an affair with an actress, arrived solo for the first state visit hosted by Obama since he won a second term in 2012.
 
The two leaders will get down to business on Tuesday with White House talks, covering topics such as Iran, Syria, restive North Africa and trade, followed by a joint news conference. A Tuesday evening state dinner features aged rib-eye beef and American wine and a musical performance by Mary J. Blige.
 
Monday was all about symbolism. Obama met Hollande at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington shortly after the French leader arrived from Paris, and together they flew aboard Air Force One to Charlottesville.

Related report by Arash Arabasadi:

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.

At Monticello, they toured the unique home designed by Jefferson, including its distinctive crowning portico and the Cabinet room Jefferson used for writing, architectural drafting and scientific observation. They saw the basement kitchen equipped with utensils he brought back from Paris after serving as U.S. ambassador to France.
 
“Thomas Jefferson represents what's best in America, but as we see as we travel through his home, what he also represents is the incredible bond and the incredible gifts that France gave to the United States, because he was a Francophile through and through,” Obama told reporters.
 
He said the house also represents the complicated history of the United States since “slaves helped to build this magnificent structure.
 
“It's a reminder for both of us that we are in a continuous fight on behalf of the rights of all peoples,” Obama said.
 
Hollande noted the significant role played by a French general, the Marquis de Lafayette, in helping George Washington defeat the British colonial power.
 
“We were allies in the time of Jefferson and Lafayette. We are still allies today. We were friends at the time of Jefferson and Lafayette and will remain friends forever,” he said.
 
Today's collaboration is a far cry from the strains of a decade ago, when France refused to join the Iraq war. But France also has made known its unhappiness over National Security Agency spying practices. Hollande told Time magazine that the agency's tactics “should never have existed” and had caused “a difficult moment, not just between France and the United States but also between Europe and the United States.”
 
Washington's relations with the European Union have also been ruffled by a U.S. diplomat's secretly recorded expletive to disparage the EU's handling of the political crisis in Ukraine.
 
The United States and France have cooperated in diplomacy on Syria and Iran, but do not always agree on economic issues, such as a U.S.-EU trade deal on which negotiations began in July.
 
France set several preconditions before allowing the talks to start, insisting that the audio-visual sector, including cinema and books, be excluded from discussions.
 
French tax authorities have also put U.S. Internet giant Google under audit about accounting procedures that channel sales through Ireland. Google rejects suggestions that this is an attempt at tax-dodging.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid