Macron to replace tree symbolising Franco-American friendship

Nellie Chapman
June 14, 2019

President Emmanuel Macron will send another, saying, quote, "the history of friendship between our peoples is well worth it".

In an interview broadcast Tuesday evening by Swiss television RTS, Macron said the death of the tree shouldn't be read as a indication of the up-and-down relationship between France and the United States.

The two presidents, with their wives looking on, dug the hole for the tree while wearing suits in the White House gardens. "The symbol was us planting it together", Macron said.

"We should not see a symbol where there is none".

While noting that disagreements between Moscow and Brussels do exist, in particular over Ukraine, Macron insisted that Russia's role in world affairs can not be underestimated. It turns out that this oak was put in quarantine for American sanitary reasons and the poor thing did not survive. "And that war is present in our democracies, it's the profound crisis we're going through", Macron said.

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The oak had been uprooted from its original position at the site of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood in northern France, which involved United States troops.

"America is never as big as when it is fighting for the freedom of others", he said.

The official told CNN at the time the quarantine was part of normal regulatory rules for imported trees and that it could remain in isolation for up to two years.

Concerned over the security of Europe, Macron has also been critical over Trump's decision to withdraw from the decades-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which banned the ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Once described as a "bromance", the presidential relationship has since withered. The French President is not supportive of an isolationist approach to fix what ails the world's conflicts.

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