May 18, 2012 at 15:31 PM EDT
President Obama Welcomes French President Francoise Hollande to the White House
President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President François Hollande of France in the Oval Office, May 18, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) President Obama today met with French President Francois Hollande for the first time when the newly-inaugurated leader stopped at the White House in advance of the G8 Summit which starts tonight at Camp David. While much of the conversation in the Oval Office was focused on the economic situation in the eurozone -- which President Obama said will also be central to the discussions throughout the weekend when they are joined by leaders from Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia  -- others issues concerning areas of our nations' mutual cooperation were on the agenda: We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, in anticipation of our NATO meeting in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday. And we agreed that even as we transition out of a combat phase in Afghanistan that it's important that we sustain our commitment to helping Afghans build security and continue down the path of development.  We also identified the issues of Iran and Syria, the transition that's taking place in countries like Egypt and Tunisia as topics of critical importance. And we'll be devoting extensive time to those issues throughout the G8 meeting. France has shown great leadership on these issues, and as I indicated to President Hollande, when the United States and France, along with our other key allies, make up our minds to stand firm on the side of democracy and freedom and development, that enormous progress can be made. read more
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