Macron, facing tricky US diplomacy, to lunch with Obama

 30 Nov 2017 - 14:51

Macron, facing tricky US diplomacy, to lunch with Obama
Macron hosted Trump as guest of honour for Bastille Day celebrations this year. / AFP.

AFP

Paris: Emmanuel Macron will host former US president Barack Obama for lunch on Saturday, the French leader's office said, as Paris pursues a tricky diplomatic strategy with his successor Donald Trump.

The lunch at Macron's Elysee Palace residence -- in a "private" capacity, the presidency said Thursday -- will come as Obama visits Paris to speak to Les Napoleons, a network of communications professionals.

Macron, 39, sought to channel Obama's "hope and change" message during his youthful campaign for the presidency, focusing on mobilising grassroots support for his upstart centrist movement En Marche.

The Democrat ex-president gave his official backing to Macron in an online video in May, three days before the second round of the election in which Macron roundly beat far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Macron also posted an online video of himself speaking on the phone with Obama receiving advice during the campaign.

Macron, who has already waded into a string of international crises as he seeks to build his stature on the world stage, faces a tough balancing act with Obama's unpredictable successor Trump. 

Macron rolled out the red carpet for Trump in July, hosting him as guest of honour for Bastille Day celebrations when he sought -- unsuccessfully -- to change the US leader's mind on pulling out of the Paris climate change agreement.

But Trump has not been invited to the December 12 climate summit in Paris, unlike 100 other leaders, and Macron has also said he wants to save the Iranian nuclear deal despite Trump's opposition.