US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron set aside lingering differences on climate change during their meeting in France on Thursday, asserting that it shouldn’t prevent them from working together towards a post-war plan for Syria and to enhance Middle East security.
Trump arrived in Paris on Thursday to meet with Macron and tackle potential solutions to the crisis in Syria and discuss broader counterterrorism strategies.
Trump on Friday will participate in Bastille Day celebrations and commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the US entry into World War I before returning to Washington.
“Today we face new threats from rogue regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria, and the governments that finance and support them. We also face grave threats from terrorist organisations,” Trump told a press conference.
“We renew our resolve to stand united against these enemies of humanity and to strip them of their territory, their funding, their networks and ideological support.”
Trump, standing alongside Macron at a news conference, said the two nations have “occasional disagreements” but that would not disrupt a friendship that dates back to the American Revolution.
He remained non-committal about the US eventually rejoining the global climate agreement that bears Paris’ name, telling Macron, “If it happens that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t that will be OK too.”
Trump announced last month that he was pulling the US from the international Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
Macron, playing host to Trump ahead of the annual Bastille Day celebrations, acknowledged sharp differences on the Paris climate pact but said the two leaders could find other areas of cooperation.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from Paris, said the two leaders were determined to work towards a post-war plan for Syria.
“I think the most significant developments in this meeting are with regard to the long-running war in Syria as fresh negotiations start with the UN mediating in Geneva,” he said.
“Interesting new comments coming from both the US and French president: Trump saying that the ceasefire that came into force on Sunday is holding. He believes no bullet has been fired, he said there could be a new ceasefire and – in a very optimistic comment – he said he can see a time soon where there will be no bullets fired at all anywhere in Syria.
“From the French president, he said that he is prepared to work in the future with representative of [Syrian] President Assad.”
Merkel and Macron met again on Thursday in Paris, before Macron’s meeting with Trump.
Merkel said during a joint appearance with Macron that it was important they keep talking with Trump, even where the differences between them are clear.
She said last week’s summit showed that common ground exists, for example, on fighting “terrorism”, but that “we also had to name clear differences, for instance regrettably the difference on whether we need the Paris climate accord or not”.
Speaking in Paris after a bilateral meeting with Macron, Trump reiterated that his administration would pursue trade deals that were “reciprocal and fair”, adding that discussions on accords with China were under way.