Macron’s state visit to US set for April 23-25

French President Emmanuel Macron will make his state visit to the United States on April 23-25, his office announced, the first by a foreign leader since Donald Trump assumed the presidency last year. “This invitation reflects the long-standing historical friendship and alliance between our countries, and the strength of relations between the two presidents,” Macron’s office said late Monday.

Trump extended the invitation in January after he was hosted by Macron in July for the Bastille Day national holiday when the US leader was impressed by the huge traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysees. This month the White House said Trump is seeking a similar military parade, an unconventional move that would showcase American muscle and underscore his role as commander-in-chief.

Although Trump and Macron have professed good relations and met several times, they disagree on a range of fundamental issues, not least Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris agreement on fighting climate change. The program for Macron’s visit has not yet been finalised, but will include a joint press conference and a state dinner, his office said.

Diplomatic sources said Macron may also use the occasion to visit New Orleans, which this year celebrates its 300th anniversary since its founding by the French in 1718.

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