US-France: Obama and Hollande talk up an 'alliance transformed'

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French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Washington – on the first foreign state visit to the US personally hosted by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle in more than two and a half years.

Furthermore, Obama and Hollande have penned a joint article in The Washington Post describing “working closely together in so many ways”. In recent years “our alliance has been transformed,” the two leaders wrote.

The renewed US-France alliance is a far cry from the strains between the two countries a decade ago when France refused to join the Iraq war.

Euronews correspondent Stefan Grobe reported from Washington: “The foreign policy establishment in this town believes that the French have shown determination in stamina on issues Mali, Libya, Syria and Iran. More than any other European leader, Francois Hollande seems to be in sync with President Obama. And American-French relations are at their best in a decade.”

Heather Conley, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told euronews: “You’re really seeing, I think, a very robust foreign and security policy agenda. I’m not sure we imagined that when President Hollande came into office. And I think Washington has noted that, I think it has strengthened the US-French bilateral relationship.”

Jeremy Shapiro, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, believes that France remains a “difficult partner” for the US, but added: “What’s interesting is that when they [the US and France] do agree, which is frequently, they are very willing to step up and help in real ways. And that’s increasingly rare today.”

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