Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

French president urges United States to reject isolationism

French president urges United States to reject isolationism

He gave an impassioned speech in which he reminded Congress that the United States "invented this multilateralism" and now needed to help preserve it.

French President Emmanuel Macron puts his hand over his chest during his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Macron said that changes in U.S. policies on several world issues might work in short term but were "very insane in the medium and long term".

Macron upped his global status by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the American president amid all the pageantry of a state visit.

France, the USA as well as Russia, Germany, China, the United Kingdom and the European Union are signatories to the agreement with Iran.

"Together with a leader of a European country, they say: 'We want to decide on an agreement reached by seven parties.' What for?"

"We are surrounded today with images, portraits and symbols which remind us that France has participated with heart in hand in the story of this great nation from the very beginning", Mr. Macron said.

"We signed it at the initiative of the United States".

More broadly, Macron presented himself to the USA legislature as an unabashed advocate of the liberal world order of global institutions and free trade - the very opposite of the America First nationalism that fuelled Trump's rise to the White House.

Macron added: "What we decided, together with your president, is that we can work on a more comprehensive deal addressing all these concerns".

"Iran shall never possess any nuclear weapons", he said as the chamber rose with applause. "Not now not in five years, not in 10 years, never", he told lawmakers.

However, the bulk of Mr Macron's speech pushed against the US President's messages of isolationism and nationalism. Trump said chronic trade deficits with USA allies around the world are "unacceptable".

He called on the U.S. not to close the door to the world.

"It will only inflame the fears of our citizens".

"We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks right in front of us".

European Union diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini insisted yesterday that the current Iran nuclear deal was working and "needs to be preserved".

Iranian officials have accused Washington of hampering not only the delivery of the USA aircraft but also hamstringing Iran's plans to purchase dozens of European planes as authorized under the accord.

He also addressed a point made by others - that withdrawing would undermine U.S. leverage and credibility in coming talks with North Korea about eliminating its nuclear weapons.

But for now, even Macron had to admit he could not read whether Trump would simply walk away from the existing deal when the renewal deadline arrives on May 12.

Trump also appointed several members of his cabinet who oppose the nuclear deal, including Mike Pompeo, the incoming secretary of state, and John Bolton, the national security adviser.

The French president told Congress that Iran remained a threat and that a multinational effort is needed to stop it from developing nuclear capabilities. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

However, secondary United States sanctions remain. "A tradesman, a businessman, a high-rise builder, how can he judge about global issues?"

Macron quickly realized that the chances were slim, sources say, and that Trump was looking for more than just a temporary fix that would buy more time, but the ability to say that he had changed the JCPOA itself.

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