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France's Macron turns away from Trump and sets a roadmap



PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron presented his roadmap to the country's diplomatic priorities in a 90-minute speech to French ambassadors on Monday.

Macron seemed to have teased his access to the United States and President Donald Trump, with whom he had such a demonstrative relationship, the two leaders about their "Bromance".

His speech focused on strengthening the European Union over today's challenges, rather than counting on the support of the US, which had two world wars as its crux.

Since his election last year, Macron has repeatedly tried to convince Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and Iran's nuclear deal. France's 40-year-old EU president also urged Trump not to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum.

Bromance or not, his efforts were in vain.

On Monday, Macron called on the European Union to take more responsibility for its own defense.

A look at other topics on his roadmap:

EUROPA

The future of the continent was Macron's main focus. Nine months before the next elections to the European Parliament, he emphasized the need to make the EU more "sovereign". He is committed to doubling efforts to combat growing nationalism in Europe.

He closed the door to further talks on Turkey's accession to the EU, suggesting instead a "strategic partnership" with Russia and Turkey.

In order to promote his proposals, Macron plans to visit Denmark and Finland this week and meet with colleagues from Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands next week. Then he should receive the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris.

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BREXIT

In line with France's position, Macron said he wanted the EU to come to an agreement with Britain on the exit conditions from the bloc and future relations with him by the end of the year.

"Brexit is a sovereign decision that we must respect, but it is a decision that can not be at the expense of the integrity of the European Union," he said.

Macron added, "France wants to maintain a strong, privileged relationship with London, but not at the expense of the dissolution of the European Union."

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MULTILATERALISM

Macron's comments were for the French Ambassador. He often advocates the value of multilateralism over any country that strives to achieve what is best for itself.

During his speech, he explicitly criticized what he called the United States' current "aggressive and one-sided trade policy".

"Multilateralism is currently undergoing a serious crisis that is affecting all our diplomatic relations, especially because of American politics," Macron said in his remarks. "The partner with whom Europe has built the order of post-war multilateralism seems to be turning its back on this common history."

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SYRIA

No big change. Macron said that France's main priority is to fight the Islamic State and that he does not see the withdrawal of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a precondition for ending the country's long civil war.

It would be a "fatal mistake" to keep Assad in power. Macron said. He stressed the importance of a negotiated political transition.

"It is not up to France to appoint the future leaders of Syria," said the president. "But it is our duty and our interest to ensure that the Syrian people are capable of doing so."

Macron also urged Russia and Turkey to use their influence in the region to end the war

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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