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Francois Hollande Arrives In US For State Visit To Obama

French President Francois Hollande has arrived in the US for a state visit, as he and President Barack Obama tout their co-operation on issues from Iran to trade and climate change.Obama sees France as a key partner

In articles published jointly in US and French newspapers, they said “our deepening partnership offers a model for international cooperation”.

A state dinner will be held on Tuesday.

The trip comes as Mr Hollande is mired in low approval ratings at home and a personal scandal.

After Mr Hollande’s arrival on Monday afternoon, he and Mr Obama flew to Monticello in the state of Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the US, an envoy to France, and the third US president.

The two toured Jefferson’s home, how on the campus of the University of Virginia, stopping by his study, the kitchen and the quarters of slaves who helped build and run the estate.

‘Our current bond’

In remarks after their tour, Mr Hollande said Monticello was a symbol of US-French relations, “because here [Marquis de] Lafayette was welcomed”.

He was referring to a French aristocrat who served in the Continental Army, which defeated the British and won American independence.

“Together, Lafayette and Jefferson imagined something that seemed impossible – mainly American independence and human rights and the rights of the citizen,” Mr Hollande said through a translator.

The US president said the visit was an opportunity to reflect on the history of US-French relations.

“Tomorrow we’ll have an opportunity to talk about not only our current bonds and alliance but also ways that we can strengthen our cooperation in the future,” Mr Obama said.

In articles published jointly in the Washington Post and Le Monde on Monday, the presidents hailed their efforts in the Middle East, including negotiations with Iran that led to an interim agreement on its disputed nuclear programme, and in Syria, where they said their threat of force had “paved the way for the plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons”.

Mr Obama and Mr Holland also urged action to combat climate change, writing their countries could “expand the clean energy partnerships that create jobs and move us toward low-carbon growth”.

Ties between the two nations have warmed considerably since France refused to support the US-led invasion of Iraq under President George W Bush.

With rancour over the Iraq War a fading memory, the two countries now find themselves largely in step on a wide range of issues.

But the run-up to Mr Hollande’s visit has been overshadowed by his grim domestic situation.

His long-time partner Valerie Trierweiler did not travel with him, after the breakdown in their relationship following accusations he had had affair.

Lavish state dinner

On Tuesday Mr Hollande and Mr Obama will hold bilateral talks on the global economic recovery, strengthening the Eurozone, the French president’s effort to boost the French economy, Iran, and other topics, according to US officials.

After a joint news conference, Mr Hollande will have lunch with Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry at the state department.

In the evening, Mr Obama will play host to Mr Hollande for a lavish official state dinner at the White House.

During his time in the US, Mr Hollande will also travel to San Francisco and meet chiefs of Silicon Valley giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google.

There he may face questions over his government’s desire for uniform taxation on internet companies – many of them US-based – that skirt high taxes in France.

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