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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs