WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump will travel to Paris later this week to attend the annual Bastille Day celebrations and hold discussions with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on issues like Syria and counterterrorism, the White House says.
"The president will arrive in Paris midmorning on Thursday, July 13th to conduct meetings with President Macron of France, and to participate the next day in the annual Bastille Day celebrations, at the invitation of President Macron. The First Lady will also accompany," a senior White House official told reporters yesterday.
Trump who returned from Europe last week after attending the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany would be making his third foreign trip after becoming the US President in January this year.
The Trump-Macron meeting "will focus on Syria and counter-terrorism topics," the official said who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We also anticipate the two presidents, in the introductory one-on-one meeting, will also share perspectives from the recent G20 meeting," the official said, adding that the two presidents will address a joint press conference after that.
On Friday, July 14, the president and first lady will participate as guests of honour in the French National Day ceremonies on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the entry of American troops onto French soil, and into World War I.
This year will also feature participation by US soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines from the Army's 1st Infantry Division.
1st Infantry Div. was the first US unit to enter France, the official said adding that it actually participated in the Bastille Day ceremonies in 1917. It was also the first US unit to go into combat, he added.
The US Air Force demonstration team, the Thunderbirds will also participate and conduct a flyover during the ceremony. A US Navy aviator will pilot a French Rafale fighter plane as part of the festivities.
Three US veterans of the Normandy invasion will also be present.
Responding to a question, the official said Trump is ready to engage on climate change issue if it is raised by Macron during the meeting that is scheduled for an hour and 15 minutes.
While this would be their first formal bilateral meeting, the two leaders have spoken multiple times. They also met on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Germany last week.
"The relationship between the two of them as being very positive...There are some issues, where we see the world a little bit differently, but many issues where we see the world more or less the same.
"The French are and have been and will be very close security partners of ours who cooperate in many different domains and on many different issues.
"And I think the relationship, still in its early stages, is a very, very good one," said the official.