February 10th, 2014
03:43 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama and Hollande: A strong alliance

(CNN) – A day ahead of a state dinner at the White House welcoming French President, President Barack Obama and Francois Hollande released an op-ed Monday describing the strong resurgence between the two countries.

“A decade ago, few would have imagined our two countries working so closely together in so many ways. But in recent years our alliance has transformed,” the two presidents wrote in the Washington Post piece.

The pair pointed to the joint efforts in discussions with Iran, preventing the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon, as well as in Syria, using their “credible threat of force” to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons.

They described the alliance working at combating terrorism across the globe and highlighted their work in Africa where their nations are fighting against al Qaeda from gaining ground in places like Mali and other central African countries.

The relationship has come a long way since 2003 when then-French President Jacques Chirac was strikingly critical of the Bush administration as the U.S. looked to France for support to invade Iraq without a U.N. mandate. "Iraq today does not represent an immediate threat that justifies an immediate war," Chirac said in March 2003.

More recently, the U.S.-France relationship took a hit when Hollande told Obama during an Oval Office meeting days after he was elected to the French presidency that he would stand by his campaign pledge to withdraw French combat troops from Afghanistan.

France was one of the bigger contributors of troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, making its withdrawal a blow to the Obama administration.

Now that the two world leaders are back on the same page, they are referring to the partnership between the two countries as a “model for international cooperation.”

“Now we are meeting our responsibilities not just to each other – but to a world that is more secure because our enduring alliance is being made new again.”

The French president’s visit comes at a time when his own personal life is under scrutiny back home. He recently split from his partner of seven years, Valerie Trierweiler, amid reports he had been having an affair with an actress.

Hollande will make the trip to Washington unaccompanied, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007,. Sarkozy arrived for a White House dinner alone after abruptly announcing he was divorcing his second wife, Cecilia Attias.

On Monday, Obama and Hollande will tour Monticello, home of America’s third president.

“As the residence of Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’ earliest envoys to France, Monticello reflects Jefferson’s affection for the people of France, the long-standing relations between our two democracies, and the shared values we hold dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the White House said in a statement.

Filed under: Francois Hollande • President Obama
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Harold Read

    Of course they have a strong alliance... They're both Socialists.

    February 10, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  2. rla

    Oh good two leaders destroying their domestic economies with libera;ism... and they smile

    February 10, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |