US President Donald Trump on Thursday held his first formal meeting with newly-elected French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, hailing his outsider campaign as a model of its kind.
Trump, whose own election last year shocked the pollsters, said Macron “ran an incredible campaign and had a tremendous victory. All over the world they’re talking about it.”
As he welcomed Macron to the US embassy in Brussels, he added: “We have a lot to discuss, including terrorism and other things. Congratulations. Great job.”
Macron said “I’m also very happy to be with President Trump. We have an extremely large agenda to discuss: the fight against terrorism, the economy, climate and energy.”
France was one of the key states which on Thursday dropped its opposition to NATO formally joining the the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, one of Trump’s key demands.
Trump has said the deadly attack in Manchester on Monday showed the threat had to be met and defeated but faces pressure from Britain after key details of the investigation were leaked in the US press.
As he met Macron Trump pointedly refused to answer journalists’ questions about the growing intelligence scandal, which comes on top of concerns his administration may not have handled secret information provided by allies with the due care expected.
French sources said the two presidents would meet for about an hour to discuss a series of pressing issues — the Ukraine crisis, Syria, North Korea, the economy and the Paris climate agreement which Trump has bluntly dismissed.