Paris, July 13 (IANS) US President Donald Trump arrived here on Thursday for a two-day visit in a diplomatic move to soften divergence with France over climate change and trade liberalisation by seeking common ground on security and fight against terrorism.
Trump arrived at Orly airport south of Paris early in the morning, beginning his second European trip in two weeks. The visit was set in motion by a call French President Emmanuel Macron had made to discuss Syria, for which he invited Trump to the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations.
After his arrival the US President, who is under fire over Russian connections, met American Embassy staff where he was scheduled to have lunch with military officials, CNN reported.
Later, Trump will tour Napoleon’s tomb at the Les Invalides before sitting down for talks on Syria and counterterrorism with Macron at the Élysée Palace.
Macron, who denounced Washington’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, will seek to press Trump to do more for deteriorating climate change, local media reports said.
The pair will then take questions from reporters in the evening, and dine with their wives in a Michelin-starred restaurant on the second landing of the Eiffel Tower.
On Friday, Trump will be the guest of honour at a military parade marking Bastille Day that commemorates the start of the French Revolution.
American troops will march alongside French personnel down the Champs-Élysées. The march will give Trump a view of France’s military hardware and point to the long history of cooperation between the two countries, the report said.
The White House said American troops would participate this year.
Trump’s stop in Paris is designed to mark the 100th anniversary of the US’s entry into World War I, and the security theme will carry over in talks between the leaders.
The US President comes to France beset by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Emails released earlier this week suggested that his eldest son welcomed Russian help against his father’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Officials said that Macron hopes to demonstrate to Trump the willingness of France to play a broader role in global security affairs.
Speaking to regional newspaper Ouest France, Macron said: “Both countries have an essential point of convergence: The fight against terrorism and protecting our vital interests in the Middle East and in Africa.”
“We need the US. That’s why I invited Donald Trump… to pay tribute and celebrate a relationship which is unavoidable in the security field,” he added.
While last week’s G20 Summit in Germany was marked by widespread violent protests, the French were not expected to stage large scale demonstrations during Trump’s visit here.
According to the report, at least 11,000 police and gendarmes were deployed on the streets for the US President’s tour.