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Macron, Trump seek common ground on ‘topics of divergence’

France's President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as they hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018.
France's President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as they hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump sought common ground Monday night on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on the topics of divergence between France and the United States, according to the Élysée Palace.

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For nearly an hour, the two leaders discussed major international issues, including Syria and Iran, as well as trade disputes.

"We had very good (bilateral) experiences, sometimes worse, but they were very good at 99 percent," said Donald Trump at the start of the meeting at a major hotel in Manhattan.

Surrounded by Vice President Mike Pence and other diplomats, the two men shook hands twice in front of the cameras, but without the same warmth as during their first meeting.

"We are here to get results," said Emmanuel Macron citing the topics of common interest including security, the fight against terrorism and the Middle East.

The two leaders "reaffirmed their commitment to coordinate closely on major issues," said the White House.

A person close to the president said, "there are differences of opinion" between Washington and Paris on certain subjects, "but more on the approach and the method than on the objectives". He added that there are no new areas of conflict.

Donald Trump has also expressed interest in coming to France to celebrate the centenary of the end of the First World War on November 11. If he comes, he could take part in the Forum for Peace, to to which Paris has invited over one hundred leaders.

Later Tuesday, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron will speak to the United Nations General Assembly, which this week brings together some 130 heads of state and government. The French president's speech will focus on inequalities, one of the root causes of global divides and the crisis of multilateralism, according to the Élysée Palace.

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