Wednesday 13 December 2017

'The Donald' hints US may not quit climate accord after all

US President Donald Trump holds Brigitte Macron’s hand as President Emmanuel Macron kisses Melania Trump. Photo: Getty Images
US President Donald Trump holds Brigitte Macron’s hand as President Emmanuel Macron kisses Melania Trump. Photo: Getty Images

Henry Samuel in Paris

US President Donald Trump appeared to hold the door open yesterday to reversing his decision to pull America out of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, after a charm offensive from Emmanuel Macron, his French counterpart.

On a visit to France for Bastille Day celebrations to mark the centenary of America's entry into the First World War, Mr Trump was asked about whether he might review his position on climate, which had drawn widespread criticism from other world leaders, France in particular.

To general surprise at the Elysee Palace, the US president said: "Something could happen with respect to the Paris accords."

He added: "Let's see what happens, but we will talk about that over the coming period of time and if it happens that will be wonderful and if it doesn't that'll be okay too."

Mr Macron said that while he was in "strong disagreement" with Mr Trump, he "respected" the fact that he was being true to "campaign commitments", and that France remained committed to the accord.

However, there was no "sudden and unexpected change," he insisted.

"I hope in the end to be able to persuade him." Clearly charmed by his visit to a capital he only recently decried as unsafe and "infested by terrorism", Mr Trump appeared to place America's special relationship with Britain on the back burner as he waxed lyrical about "America's first and oldest ally".

"France helped us secure our independence," he went on, saying the two countries had an "unbreakable bond" and calling Mr Macron his "friend".

Asked about his previous disparaging comments, including a friend named Jim, who he previously claimed no longer frequents Paris any more because it was rife with Islamist terrorists, Mr Trump said: "It's going to be just fine because you have a great president.

"I think this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. He's a tough president. I really have the feeling that you are you going have a very peaceful and beautiful Paris. I'm coming back," he beamed.

After a bumpy start to their relationship, notably their now notorious muscular handshake, the two leaders clearly clicked this time. "Emmanuel, nice to see you. This is so beautiful," the US president told Mr Macron.

Patting Mr Trump on the back several times, the French president smiled as they began a tour of the grand 17th century military complex.

Mr Trump also hazarded a Gallic double peck on the cheek for Brigitte Macron, who was dressed in white. Mrs Trump, in red, only received the one bise from Mr Macron.

The US president was then captured in an awkward moment as he complimented Mrs Macron's appearance in a video posted by the French government's Facebook account.

At one point, he gestured to Mrs Macron (64) and told her: "You're in such great shape."

He then turned to Mr Macron and repeated to him: " She's in such great shape. Beautiful".

The leaders held talks in the Elysee Palace before the couples dined on lobster and caviar at the Michelin-starred Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.

Weeks after Mr Macron hosted Russian President Putin at the Palace of Versailles, Mr Trump will bask in the Bastille Day military parade today, where hundreds of US troops will march with their French counterparts. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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