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Obama Welcomes France's Hollande for Talks at White House

U.S. President Barack Obama has praised the "enduring alliance" between France and the United States, while hosting French President Francois Hollande at the White House.

Mr. Obama says the two countries' alliance "has never been stronger", calling it "much deeper" than it was 20 years ago. Mr. Hollande added, the two countries' "now trust each other in an unprecedented manner."

Talks between the two leaders Tuesday covered Iran nuclear negotiations, Syria, counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, trade, economic issues, and climate change.

President Obama said the facts will guide the Iran nuclear negotiations.



"I do not think the concern during the course of these negotiations is whether or not we are going to be making too many concessions, I think the concern is going to be whether or not Iran can recognize the opportunity to prove in a verifiable fashion to the world in ways that scientist and technical experts can confirm that any nuclear program they have is for peaceful purposes."



He warned sanctions will be tightened on Iran if its leaders do not resolve the nuclear conflict. He also added businesses that may be exploring possibilities to get into Iran before sanctions are lifted would be doing so "at their own peril."



Mr. Obama is honoring Mr. Hollande later Tuesday with the first state dinner of his second term as president. The French president will travel to Silicon Valley in California on Wednesday.

Mr. Hollande arrived Monday for the first state visit by a French president since 1996.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Hollande traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia and Monticello, the 18th century mansion that was home to Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence, and the second U.S. envoy to France from 1785 to 1789.

France supported the original 13 American colonies in their war for independence from Britain.

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