Obama tells Hollande French ties 'deeply valued'

US President Barack Obama told French counterpart Francois Hollande during White House talks on Friday that their countries' bilateral relationship is "deeply valued" by Americans.

Just three days after being sworn in to replace pro-American president Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande, a Socialist, held talks with Obama in the Oval Office focusing on the euro crisis and how to improve growth.

The US president said he had assured his French counterpart that the "friendship and alliance between the US and France is not only... important to me but is deeply valued by the American people."

Hollande was also due to be guest of honor at a lunch hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron who is also in the United States for a weekend of international diplomacy.

Hollande will later head to Obama's Camp David retreat in Maryland for talks with leaders of the G8 club of developed nations, before moving on to Chicago for the NATO summit on Saturday.

The French leader reminded Obama of a promised withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan by the end of year, but said France would provide support in other ways.


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