French President Addresses US Congress, Praises “Strong Military Legion”

French President Emmanuel Macron (center left) walks with Maj. Gen. Michael Howard (center right), commanding general, US Army Military District of Washington, through the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., April 24, 2018. US Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday reaffirmed the long-lasting and strong bond between the United States and France before a joint session of Congress, calling for the two countries to continue to “work closely together” as they battle terrorism both in the Middle East and at home and to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Macron noted that perhaps “better than anyone” US and French troops, who have fought and died beside each other in countless battles throughout history, “know what the alliance and friendship between our countries means.”

“French and American soldiers are confronting the same enemy and risking their lives together,” said Macron.

He said the US and France “will continue to stand together in Syria to fight together against terrorist groups that seek to destroy everything with which we stand.” He called the recent US, French, and UK strikes on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons facilities inside Syria “one of the best evidence of this strong military legion.”

Macron also called for a “bilateral commitment” to fight terrorist propaganda online, which increases the threat of homegrown terrorists.

“Terrorist threats are even more dangerous when it’s combined with a nuclear proliferation threat,” which is why “France supports fully” US efforts to bring peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.

On Iran, he said France would continue to honor the deal signed by both the US and France under the Obama Administration, but he left the door open to a new deal that would address Republican concerns.

Such a deal, he said, should be based on four pillars: “The substance of the existing agreement, … the post-2025 period in order to be sure we will never have any nuclear activity for Iran, the containment of military influence of the Iranian regime in the region, and the monitoring of ballistic activity.”

“That’s my position,” said Macron. “I think we can work together to build this comprehensive deal for the whole region, for our people because I think it addresses our concerns.”