President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will discuss the Iran deal and the situation in Syria when they meet each other next week, a senior US official has said. Macron will arrive here on Monday for a three-day state visit and Trump and First Lady Melania are throwing a red carpet to welcome the French president.
During the visit, the two presidents are expected to discuss the landmark 2015 nuclear deal signed by the US and other world powers and Iran, the official said. The deal lifted economic sanctions on Tehran, and in return put limitations on its controversial nuclear energy programme. Trump has threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal and has set a May 12 deadline to make a decision on the accord, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama. The official said Trump was not yet ready to make a final decision but that the nuclear deal would definitely be an important part of the discussions during his meetings with Macron.
“It’s difficult to say what degree of detail the two presidents will go into, because based on the president’s statement back in January, there’s a deadline of around mid-May before he has to make a decision,” the official said.
“The Europeans, the E3 in particular, have been working hard on trying to address some of our most important or prominent concerns having to do with Iran’s ballistic missile program, for example; the sunset clause; and the JCPOA, and so on. That work is not quite done yet. So I think the time to really have the final discussions and for the president to be ready to make the decision will be mid-May,” the official said.
Noting that the United States works closely with France to combat terror around the world, the official said Trump and Macron will also discuss recent joint operations in Syria in response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on April 7 as well as broader issues relating to Syria and the Middle East.
“These would include Iran’s malign influence in the region; and also France’s leading role in the NATO and in global counterterrorism operations more generally, including in the Sahel, where France takes the leading role,” the official said.
Macron’s state visit will include, on April 23, a tour of Mt. Vernon and a private couples dinner, the official told reporters here. The tour would celebrate the “close and continuing” ties between the two countries, which have been a strong and reliable ally to each other.
“President Trump is eager to host the Macrons for this special event as he remembers, fondly, the dinner the couples shared together in the Eiffel Tower on the eve of Bastille Day that was last July in 2017,” the official said.
On April 24, Macron will meet with Trump in the White House, mid-morning, for a one-on-one session in the Oval Office. That will be followed by an expanded working bilateral meeting between the French and US delegations. The bilateral meeting will include the Vice President, the Acting Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, the Secretary of Defence, the Secretary of Commerce, the White House Chief of Staff, and the National Security Advisor. The visit has three themes: friendship, trade partnership, and the fact that France has been “a strong and reliable” ally of the US.
“President Trump is continuing the legacy of French-American cooperation that stretches back to America’s independence, and is working with President Macron to build upon the already strong ties between the United States and France,” the official said.
France is the United States’ third largest trading partner in Europe, and averages over USD 1 billion in commercial transactions every day.