Macron urges Trump to reject nationalism and politics of hate

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French President Emmanuel Macron has used a speech to the joint houses of the US Congress to condemn nationalism and isolationism.

Mr Macron urged the US not to “close the door to the world” and said stoking fear and anger would not “construct anything”.

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House. Picture: Getty Images

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House. Picture: Getty Images

In a speech seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the French leader also warned against tearing up a multilateral deal on Iran and called on the US to re-join the Paris climate agreement.

He said he wanted the US to reject fear and isolationism and embrace the historic bond between the two countries to launch a new era of 21st century leadership and security.

Speaking almost directly to President Donald Trump, the French president quickly turned to the top issues of Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, free trade and the Paris accord on climate change – topics where he and Trump disagree.

He urged the United States not to retreat from its historic and military role in world affairs.

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“We are living in a time of anger and fear,” he said. “You can play with fears and angers for a time, but they do not construct anything.”

With a nod to great American leaders, including former President Franklin Roosevelt, he warned against withdrawing from the world in fear.

He said: “We have two possible ways ahead. We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears.

“But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world.”

At times during the nearly hour-long speech, delivered in English, he took turns playing into his friendly relationship with President Trump, while also highlighting their differences.

He reiterated French support for US sanctions on North Korea and said it was his country’s objective that Iran would never possess nuclear weapons.

But he warned against simply abandoning the multi-nation Iran nuclear deal, as President Trump has considered.

Refering to what President Trump calls, “fake news,” President Macron warned that lies disseminated online are threatening freedoms worldwide, and in a play on the US leader’s famous campaign slogan, he said he was confident the US will re-join the Paris climate agreement.

“Let us work together in order to make our planet great again,” he said, “and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our earth.”

Macron was speaking as part of his visit to the United States. It is the first time a president from France has addressed Congress in more than a decade, but follows a tradition of foreign leaders appearing at the US Capitol.