WASHINGTON – The United States and France will continue to work together to counter terrorism in Iran, stop the use of nuclear weapons in Syria and put pressure on North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint press conference Tuesday at the White House.
“Iran cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon and that regime must end its support of terrorists,” Trump said. “No matter where you go in the Middle East you see the fingerprints of Iran behind problems.”
The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers – U.S., France, Great Britain, Russia, China and Germany – is a “bad deal,” Macron said. The two countries want to work on a new deal with Iran to block nuclear and ballistic activities by Iran and to generate a political solution to contain Iran in the Middle East, he added.
“France is not naive when it comes to Iran,” Macron said. “We have also a lot of respect for the Iranian people. Its history has always shown its strength. But we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
On April 14, the U.S., France and U.K. fired missiles at alleged chemical weapons factories in Syria. The air strikes were launched after a suspected chemical attack in Douma, a city outside of Damascus. Douma was the last city under the control of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
“These actions were designed to establish a strong deterrent against the use of these heinous weapons,” Trump said. “It was a well-executed effort at that, and I thank (President Macron) and the members of the French military for their courage and their great skill.”
The “very rich” countries in the Middle East need to “step up tremendously,” Trump said. “As we drive these ISIS killers from Syria, it is essential that the responsible nations of the Middle East step up their own contributions to prevent Iran from profiting off the success of our anti-ISIS effort.”
The United States and France want to prevent nuclear proliferation in North Korea. “We are grateful for France’s key partnership in our campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime,” Trump said. “We seek a future of peace harmony and security for the whole Korean peninsula.”
The United States and France also want to stop “uncontrolled migration” into their countries, Trump said. “We are taking strong action to regain control over our borders and over our sovereignty,” he said. “We’re going to stop illegal immigration.”
The two presidents also discussed the economic relationship between the two countries. “We look forward to exploring increased opportunities for bilateral trade and investment based on the principle of fairness and importantly reciprocity,” Trump said.