WASHINGTON, April 20 (Xinhua) -- A senior U.S. official on Friday gave a briefing on French President Emmanuel Macron's state visit to the United States, slated for April 23-25.
On Jan. 24, the White House had said that President Donald Trump will welcome Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron on the French president's first state visit to the United States under the Trump administration.
Trump visited Paris in July 2017, weeks after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris climate accord.
The two presidents have met and talked on the phone several times since assuming office and struggled to soften their divergence over Syria, the Iran nuke deal, the Paris climate accord and trade liberalization.
On the weekend, Macron said he had persuaded Trump to limit the scale of the attack on Syria to its alleged chemical weapons. He also reportedly persuaded Trump to maintain a small number of U.S. ground troops in Syria after Trump had announced the troops would be recalled, calling Syria a "very troubled" place.
During the briefing, the U.S. official said the Iran nuclear deal will be a major topic on the agenda. Trump has threatened to withdraw from it by May 12 unless the U.S. Congress and European nations agree to amend it.
The official said Trump's three priorities regarding the deal are the "sunset clause", Iran's ballistic missile program, and more broadly, Iran's activities throughout the region that Washington sees as "malign".
Washington fears that the "sunset clause" will provide Tehran with an option to build nuclear weapons. Iran has said that there is no such clause and its commitment to not make nuclear arms is permanent.
Iran has continued to test ballistic missiles, saying the program is for peaceful purposes and doesn't breach the nuclear deal.
France is the third largest trading partner of the United States in Europe, with daily commercial transactions worth an average 1 billion U.S. dollars. The United States is the top destination for French foreign investment. In 2016, France invested 19.3 billion dollars in the United States, which supported over 26,000 jobs there.
The United States is also the largest foreign investor in France, investing about 78 billion dollars in 2016.
The two nations worked closely in the joint operation to attack Syria on April 13 for alleged its use of chemical weapons. They have also worked together in global counterterrorism operations including in the Sahel region in Africa, where France takes the leading role.
Macron will be given a tour of Mount Vernon, the plantation home of U.S. first President George Washington in Virginia, where he will have a private couples' dinner.
In July 2017, the two first couples had dinner together in the Eiffel Tower on the eve of Bastille Day, the French National Day which is celebrated on July 14.
On April 24, the two leaders will meet in the White House for a one-on-one session in the Oval Office and an expanded working bilateral meeting with delegations from both sides.
Later, the two presidents will host a joint press conference. Macron will also go to the Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony and attend a state dinner in the White House.
He will address a joint session of Congress on April 25, marking the 58th anniversary of former French President Charles de Gaulle address to a joint session of Congress in 1960.